I was surprised to find savvy online dating advice in a new Action/Adventure/Comedy/Romance, THIS MEANS WAR. The film’s testosterone driven opening sequence shows two of the world’s deadliest CIA operatives chasing and beating the bad guys. In a quiet lull after the carnage, the CIA warriors played by Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, show us their personal side. One is a player with no desire to settle down. The other is a divorced dad looking for real love. They are inseparable partners and best friends, until they discover they’ve fallen in love with the same woman.
This woman is Reese Witherspoon, who plays a dedicated career woman who’s too busy to find a date. Her romantic life gets a jump start after her best friend signs her up for an online dating site. Then she instantly meets an intriguing match, bumps into his best friend, and falls for both of them.
This scenario is a Hollywood ending to her dating famine and beginning of a dating feast with two exciting men who decide to hide their friendship and their true identity from her.
Protecting your identity is a standard safety precaution in online dating. Typically, you use a screen name, meet in public places and wait to reveal your contact info until you find out if you have any common interests or mutual desire to date.
Reese’s character totally enjoys exploring common interests at an amusement park with her down to earth date who’s the divorced dad who claims to be a travel agent. She doesn’t like the club scene, where her second candidate, who often says he’s captain of cruise ship, takes her. When she walks out of the club, he’s shocked and forced to imagine, possibly for the first time, what a woman might like to do or want in a man. Since he likes her, he’s motivated to find out what she likes and give it to her.
Will this narcissistic player change his dating habits to win her heart, once he discovers what she wants?
Both men find out what she wants by using high-tech CIA intelligence. Fortunately, dating singles without CIA resources can gather the same intelligence just by asking the right questions during a date.
Reese’s character does ask the right questions on her first dates, yet she misinterprets answers by what she wants to hear instead of what was being said. For example, she asks her date, “Have you ever killed anyone?”
“Not lately,” he replies. She mistakenly views his sarcasm as denial. We recognize this dating mistake, since we’ve just watched him expertly kill people as part of his CIA assignment. This scene illustrates why single men and women should take a date at their word instead of painting your preferred meaning on what they’re telling you.
So what does Reese’s character want?
Thanks to two sets of bugs planted in her apartment, her dating candidates catch her admitting to a friend that she wants to casually date both men until she figures out which one is her best love match.
This actually is a smart dating strategy, as long as you are honest about it and you keep things platonic while you find out which match makes your heart feel at home. Will Reese follow that savvy strategy or will she succumb to her intense sexual attraction to both men?
It’s amusing to see how her dating strategy unwittingly turns best friends into competitors, who pull out their full arsenal of fighting skills and high-tech gadgetry to defeat their greatest enemy – each other. I was laughing out loud as I watched these great warriors kill ruthless adversaries in one scene and then tap into their softer side to vie for the heart of a great woman.
I won’t spoil the film’s climax, except to suggest that you notice how the best man wins in a way that’s best for everyone.
These romantic adventures demonstrate how you can find love online by finding out common values, likes and dislikes, and then fine-tune your dating behavior to attract rather than repel your great love.
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