Arguably the two sexiest movie stars in America, and bothunderappreciated for their considerable talents as a result, the pair maketrying to kill your spouse seem entertaining and almost erotic.
Directed by Doug Liman ("TheBourne Identity") with tongue-in-cheekpanache, and an eye for metaphorical conflicts of real marriage, the filmopens with John and Jane Smith (Pitt and Jolie) in couples therapy.
"How often do you have sex?" ask the off-screenshrink. "I don't understand the question," Pitt deadpans in response.
After a flashback establishing, with surprising credibility,how they met (both posing as tourists while on assignment in Columbia)and came to fall in love while pulling the wool over each other's eyes,Liman spends a reel humorously juxtaposing their mundane domesticity withtheir killer instincts before setting them at odds: John and Jane are giventhe same target and need to leave no witnesses, but catch each other inthe act, leading to a very uncomfortable reunion at home after a hard day'swork.
"I missed you, honey" Jane meows ironically."I missed you too," John retorts with a teeth-gritted kiss onthe cheek.
Then comes the shootout that literally tears their houseapart. (His arsenal is hidden underneath a backyard shed, hers behind theoven.)
While trying to kill each other, Pitt and Jolie trade double-entendresand dangerous looks that give the film tingle and zing, but underneaththe farce and the firepower this couple is genuinely trying to figure outif they can save their marriage. It's the casting of these two stars thatmakes the relationship work on all levels. Together they have wickedlysharp comedic timing and are just as believable arguing about new curtainsas they are brandishing machine guns. The fun the actors are having comesthrough in their performances, which take an amusingly sultry turn whenthe Smiths being to think they've been set up.
Written by Simon Kinberg ("xXx:State of the Union") but significantlypunched up by Liman, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is clever and satisfying,but what it's not is smart. Plot holes abound, and the picture has so manytrappings of brain-dead Hollywood action-movie excess that it's easy toimagine how bad it would have been without this particular director andthese particular stars.
With Pitt's obnoxious munitions-man sidekick (Vince Vaughn),cartoonishly high-tech gadgetry, the chrome-and-computer-screen overkillof the headquarters for both anonymous assassin agencies, and the factthat Jolie's team is an all-girl operation, this flick is constantly indanger of becoming too asinine for its own good. This is never more truethan in the clumsily, overly convenient finale that doesn't stand up tocommonsense scrutiny. (It's a shame Liman fails to recognize a perfectopportunity for a convention-busting, "Butch Cassidy"-like ending.)
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is at its best when allof this ornamentation is stripped away, and John and Jane are forced torely only on their resourceful wits -- which is fortunately just enoughof the movie to make it worth the price of admission.
Run time: 120 mins
In Theaters: Friday 10th June 2005
Box Office USA: $186.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $478.2M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: 20th Century Fox, Weed Road Pictures, Dutch Oven, New Regency Productions, Summit Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Fresh: 122 Rotten: 85
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Angelina Jolie as Jane Smith, Brad Pitt as John Smith, Vince Vaughn as Eddie, Adam Brody as Benjamin Danz, Kerry Washington as Jasmine, Keith David as Father, Chris Weitz as Martin Coleman, Rachael Huntley as Suzy Coleman, Michelle Monaghan as Gwen, Stephanie March as Julie - Associate #1, Jennifer Morrison as Jade - Associate #2, Theresa Barrera as Janet - Associate #3, Perrey Reeves as Jessie - Associate #4, Melanie Tolbert as Jamie - Associate #5