A bored married couple is surprised to learn that they are both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other.
Year 2, Film #28
THE REVIEW: This had terrific promise at the beginning of the film, but Mr. & Mrs. Smith went downhill about as fast as the marriage between Mr. (Brad Pitt) and Mrs. Smith (Angelina Jolie) does. I hesitate to say the reason is because of a lack of focus — the tone and style of the film remains consistent throughout — but it’s more that the film doesn’t realize what is so great about it. Hint: Pitt and Jolie are what make the film tick, but other than that, it’s just a mess of gears trying to keep time.
Opening the film is Mr. and Mrs. (John and Jane — how unique) sitting in a marriage counseling session with terrific chemistry. Their marriage has hit a rough patch, hence the counseling, and therefore the two disagree with and are not always in sync with each other, but it’s done so perfectly that not only do you instantly get what their relationship currently is, but you can also extrapolate what their relationship was like. Pitt and Jolie are perfect for each other in every way, even in the ways they’re not. A lot of, eye-opening, comedy is to be had in the opening scene with how different they see things. Here is a choice quote from this opening scene.
John: “We’ve been married five years.” Jane: “Six years.” John: “Right. Five or six years.”
And the way this relationship evolves throughout the film as John and Jane both eventually realize the other is an assassin is perfect. That’s not to say the story is perfect, far from it, but the acting and the chemistry between the actors definitely is and is what keeps this film afloat.
If Pitt and Jolie are the buoys, then the story is the gigantic 500 ton anchor that’s keeping it on the ground. But the sad thing is, that started out great too. The marriage counseling, seeing husband and wife go about their day-to-day routines (dinner’s at 7:00 honey), and just the general idea of two assassins trying to keep their identities secret (not that original, but lots of room for potential) are all great. But very quickly things go from promising to extremely and utterly boring. It transitions away from the witty comedy (the marriage) with bits of intrigue (the assassin part) to a film that goes nowhere for an hour and a half. After everything is established, all we see is John and Jane chasing the other around not really doing anything. Yes, they are trying to kill the other because each thinks they are now enemies; it’s not entirely pointless. But for all intents and purposes it is. It’s a lot of gun-waving, knife-throwing, macho garbage. Even looking at it just from an action film point-of-view it’s not too interesting. There’s nothing to differentiate one fight sequence from the next; they all just blur together.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a horrible telling of a story with great promise and star power that could have brought it to new heights. While I was very upset with the film and disappointed with how things turned out, I don’t regret watching it. I wouldn’t recommend watching this film and would even advise against it. But, if you happen to be flipping through the TV guide and see this listed, you may just want to tune in for a couple of minutes. As George Carlin says, “But once you get up past a minute, minute and a half, I’ve gotta get the fuck outta there.”
THE RATING: 2 out of 5