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Better than sexy

Queen of rom-coms Reese Witherspoon has only become hotter since becoming a mother. She unleashes her sassy side in This Means War, writes Shelly Horton.

Trying to tie down Reese Witherspoon for an interview is like herding a cat. After three rescheduled attempts and a one-hour wait, I finally get her on the phone, ready to ask: ”So Reese, do you own a watch?” But as soon as her southern drawl drips down the line, apologising profusely, I forgive her in about 2½ seconds. There’s just something so damned likeable about Witherspoon. Girls want to go shopping with her and blokes want to, well, do what all blokes want to do with a sexy blonde. And, boy, is she sexy in her latest romantic comedy, This Means War.

”It was great to show that side of myself only because I had such confidence with [director] McG. I saw Charlie’s Angels and I just knew he loves portraying strong, sexy women. It’s like they are the new female superheroes,” she says.

One thing is for sure, Witherspoon shines in every shot – showing off a smoking-hot bod that defies the fact she’s a mother of two. In fact, she says she feels sexier since she’s given birth: ”I admire my body now because it’s strong and capable and healthy and produced two children. I think that’s sexy.”

Witherspoon stars alongside two of Hollywood’s hotties du jour, Chris Pine (who was so charismatic in Star Trek) and Tom Hardy (the sexy-Brit who impressed in Warrior and Inception). They play two CIA operatives who turn on each other when they find they are dating the same girl.

”I certainly got a crash course in what men think is sexy,” Witherspoon says, laughing. ”Tom, G [aka McG] and Chris all had their opinion on what’s sexy. They really like high heels and big hair. They taught me flats are not sexy. I was like, ‘But don’t you like my cute little ballerina flats?’ And they would all just look at me and say ‘No’.”

So what about the sex appeal of her co-stars? ”Well, Tom is from England – a London boy with lots of tattoos. He has a great body he works really hard on. And he’s quite intense about his work. He’s the sort of person who’s mind races at a million miles a minute.

”But now I’ve gotten to know him, I know he does this thing that if he doesn’t want to answer a question he drops into this super-slang London accent that no one can understand and people are too embarrassed to ask him what he said. Now that I know he does it on purpose, I find it hysterical.

”Whereas Chris is from LA and he’s incredibly charming, like George Clooney charming. He’s well read, wears classic clothes – actually, I’d go so far as to say he’s impeccably dressed. He’s a great friend.”

This Means War hits cinemas with precision timing – on Valentine’s Day. As much as it’s the story of a love triangle that will pull at the heartstrings of the girls in the audience, it also has lots of laughs and cool spy action for the men.

”We wanted to not make it a typical chick flick but raise the bar and be more in the family of Mr & Mrs Smith. Lots of sex appeal and lots of action,” she says.

The film certainly shows that dating can be brutal. Witherspoon admits she didn’t do much dating as she’s ”the marrying kind”. She was married to Ryan Phillippe for seven years, divorcing in 2006. She then dated Jake Gyllenhaal before she met agent Jim Toth, who she married in March last year. ”Oh, Shelly, if you’re dating at the moment I sympathise. Dating is absolutely terrifying. It’s so hard,” she says. ”My only advice to you would be to just try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s hard to do anything for the first time and that’s the same for meeting someone for the first time. I wish you lots of luck.”

Providing the laughs in the flick is US stand-up comedian and host of Chelsea Lately, Chelsea Handler. ”She’s incredibly funny off the top of her head. She speaks the way women really talk. She’s like that friend who has no filter and says the most horrendous things but is actually loving and kind.

”Most of Chelsea’s lines were ad libbed. Some had to be edited out, otherwise we would have had an R rating. I don’t normally recommend people get the DVD but in this case you should just for Chelsea’s out-takes. Everything she does is totally appalling but, god, she makes me laugh ’til I cry.”

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