It’s not “Jules et Jim.” It’s not even Romeo, Juliet and Mercutio. It’s just good old FDR, (Chris Pine) Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) and Tuck (Tom Hardy). These three fun-loving kids make up what used to be called a whacky comedy or laugh a minute triangles, back when Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart were fooling around with Katy Hepburn.

Alas, those days are gone. Now we’re down to one star and a couple of unknowns fooling around in a movie that probably cost l7 million bucks that really could have pulled Newt Gingrich out of the hole.

I won’t waste a lot of time trying to analyze the motives of these three wonderful kids, I’ll just give you the straight dope.

Reese is as snappy and cute as a six-year-old puppy. Our Reese is having trouble finding a suitable mate. She is fed up with all the local and obtainable dorks that hang around here, so, at the insistence of her best friend, Trish, (a somewhat older and kinkier married woman, Chelsea Handler) she goes a hunting on an online dating service. Here, she meets FDR (named, I assume, by two progressive grandparents) and Tuck. Both are CIA agents. Not the real kind, the movie kind. Real CIA agents you see, look more like Phillip Seymour and Dustin Hoffman. These are really gorgeous guys with perfect teeth, hair and stunning eyes. (I used to write puff pieces for agents’ clients so I know how to do this.)

These boys are, in the tradition of fake, movie CIA agents, daring — do buddies. They defy gravity and jump around on the roofs of Hong Kong skyscrapers,shoot up night clubs and have fist fights with bad guys and come away with nary a scrape.

But this romantic escapade is the worst situation they’ve come up against. They both meet and fall in love with Reese. I hate when that happens. I’m not going to call her Lauren. This is Reese, let’s not kid ourselves. Cate Blanchett can be Lauren, but not Reese. Reese doesn’t connect with either one right off the bat. She’s picky and this online thing is costing her money, so she’s going to take her time. Besides, there are about 110 minutes left in the film to fill.

Now, as CIA agents usually do in a situation like this, our boys set about using their Langley skills to compete against one another and win the hand of the lovely maiden. We’ve all had to do this at one time or another in our lives, have we not? It’s clearly not as easy as it looks.

The fun part, or so the writers thought, is where they break into her apartment while she’s lolling about half naked, and without her seeing them, go about searching her wardrobe and personal belongings to get a clue as to what she’s like, and what she’s looking for in an agent, or plumber or male nurse, whatever.

Meanwhile, they have to sandwich this spare time gig with a real job. Their boss, played by Angela Bassett (Did I say that out loud?) who is fed up with their fooling around the office and using their laptops to keep track of Reese, assigns them to hunt down someone called Heinrich. Henrich (Til Schweiger) who was, when they last met, pulling off a robbery in Hong Kong. Mr. Schweiger, we’re told is a well-known German movie star. He looks good, but isn’t as good an actor as our boys. Are they sure this is the agency that tracked down Osama Bin Laden?

In the course of this thriller, there will be plenty of Glocks fired rapidly as their handlers soar through the air and plummet down stairwells. You now who they should have hired? Clive Owen. He can really do that well.

There are a couple of digestible scenes, one in which the great Rosemary Harris, who, sadly in need of cash, or maybe just fun at this stage of her career, agreed to play FDR’s nana. FDR brings Reese home to show her how basic and all American his childhood was, and Nana embarrasses him by showing off baby pictures. George Touliatos plays Grandpa Foster with professional ease.

It’s hard to know who to blame in this situation. The actors are just both guys trying to build a career. Reese should have known better. She’s still very hot, but I liked her better back when she wasn’t so hot, and was a better actor in “Election,” with Matthew Broderick.

So I guess we should fault the director, but we can’t track him down because he’s listed only as “McG.” Smart move. I’ll bet he’s really CIA. Julia Roberts and Betty White do not make cameo appearances in this film.

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor.


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