If I were perhaps a smarter man I’d delve into a lengthy critical analysis of Mr. & Mrs. Smith as it relates to the tabloid soap opera regarding stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. But I’m not and I typically don’t give half a shake of a chinchilla’s ass about such matters as it relates to a film’s merits, so there you have it.
Pitt and Jolie, of course, star as John and Jane Smith, a suburban couple bored with their quiet domestic life and its humdrum dinners and disagreements over curtains. In therapy they discuss their ennui and free-floating dissatisfaction. Both lead secret lives as assassins, however, secretly hopscotching the world and killing for hire. When given the same mark, a young kid nicknamed “Tank” (The O.C.‘s Adam Brody), their competing agendas expose their identities to one another and thus their competing agencies as well (Pitt’s contact is a jittery Vince Vaughn; Jolie works with a group of exclusively black-clad women, which is I guess the ultimate form of grrrl power). Each is given under 48 hours to kill the other, and so a game of shoot-’em-up cat-and-mouse ensues, before John and Jane stop to ask themselves why they might have been assigned the same target.
The debut script of Simon Kinberg — who went on to pen xXx: State of the
It’s not a surprise, then, that the spy-versus-spy specifics of the movie don’t really work, even for the world of heightened absurdity that Mr. & Mrs. Smith sets up. Given that the pair works for agencies where discretion is in theory prized and integral to their continued success, having an entire hit squad kicking in doors and rappelling from helicopters probably isn’t the best tack for assured anonymity.
What saves Mr. & Mrs. Smith — which is very much an action movie, albeit one that’s uncharacteristically mischievous and lighthearted — is the fact that Pitt and Jolie are two of the most effortlessly magnetic and playful screen stars in Hollywood today. Their star wattage and winning performances — each channels into cathartic physical form the sheer exasperation of a sputtering relationship — elevate the good-but-not-great banter and make Mr. & Mrs. Smith quite worthy dinner party guests. DVD extras on this two-disc, widescreen unrated version of the movie include deleted scenes, analternate ending, a feature-length commentary by Liman, sequential breakdowns with storyboards and animatics, a fairly staid, non-dishy behind-the-scenes featurette, a photo gallery and much more. Those looking for a dissection of the stars’ burgeoning love affair, however, will have to consult the US Weekly microfiche files at their local library. B (Movie) B+ (Disc)