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Overall Rating
3.53

Awesome: 15.72%
Worth A Look45.91%
Average: 21.38%
Pretty Bad: 9.43%
Total Crap: 7.55%

13 reviews, 81 user ratings


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Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
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by Erik Childress

"The Smiths Could Kick The Roses' Asses!"
4 stars

Sometimes I’ts best to just leave a director alone. He’s in the zone. He knows want he wants to shoot. Don’t come bugging him about going over budget or speeding things along. It’s only money and occasionally you have to spend money to make money. Doug Liman is such a director whose stories of quirky perfectionism didn’t really catch up to him until after all the hoo-hah about what a disaster The Bourne Identity was supposed to be because of all his meddling and reshoots. Guess what? That film turned out just fine. Not great, but fine, and it was clear that Liman had the chops to become a first-class action director. With Mr. & Mrs. Smith, he confirms that promise and delivers a giddy piece of entertainment that nearly achieves greatness before some meddling, perhaps, kept him from delivering the finale the film deserves.

Depending on who you believe, the story of Mr. & Mrs. Smith is loosely based on the short-lived 1996 CBS series with Scott Bakula and Maria Bello as two superspies who posed as a married couple on the job. The marriage in Liman’s version is very real and we trace it back to the first meeting of John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie). Why shouldn’t the arguably two most beautiful people in the world get together? Maybe cause they kill people for a living and work for competing agencies without ever being the wiser to the other.

The gimmick of the film has already been ruined for us, but its nice to see the film work in a forward progression rather than thrusting us into action and treating their backstory as an addendum. John & Jane meet and fall in love. Five or six years later (depending on who is remembering the anniversary correctly) the Smiths have settled into a suburban existence and the nuptial routine of work-dinner-bedtime after plugging a few baddies and breaking some necks. It’s not until both are assigned to wipe out the same witness that they become aware of their alternative lifestyles. Now a danger to the agencies and to each other, they are given 48 hours to wipe out the other or the Prizzi’s shall lose their honor with all the true lies.

Normally we would expect a gauntlet like this to be thrown down and all logic to be lost in favor of maintaining the gimmick. Particularly when screenwriters with a juicy premise like this are prone to just concentrate on the characters hating each other only to find love in the end. (We’ll suspend our disbelief of two intelligence agencies not knowing anything about their employee’s private lives.) Pitt & Jolie’s characters are forced to take action, but they do take pause at every turn to chew on whether they’re doing it as trained robots or sniveling spouses. A love had to exist between them and it’s nice to see them trying to mentally invent excuses to follow through with it like humans instead of caricatures on a plotline. We don’t really doubt that these two will kiss and tear each other’s clothes off during the best makeup sex ever, but slight little moments like Jolie lying to herself in the car after planting a “little bomb” on her husband make the eventual transition easier to accept.

The cleverness in Simon Kinberg’s screenplay (and I’m betting on script doctors since this is the same dude credited with XXX: State of the Union) is that aside from the big guns and even bigger action, it could actually be taken as a tried-and-true metaphor for the modern marriage. Think Oliver and Barbara Rose as spies; first lying to each other about where they go at night, hiding stashes of alpha male paraphernalia in the toolshed only to find everything you ever collected taken away when outside help is brought in to rectify the marriage. At this point the latter half of the film could be read as a battle against the paparazzi to just leave these two people alone, but that was never a part of the equation and none of the overblown tabloid reporting should keep you from seeing this film no matter how bad you might feel for Jennifer Aniston.

Liman got a lot of deserved credit for the action he brought to The Bourne Identity. There was intensity to his car chase and cleverness to the farm shootout. Here he goes further with high-rise escapes, explosions that aren’t boring, a house ambush given enough space to breathe and another car chase that tops his previous work. It would be great for Liman to be handed the next superhero franchise as long as he doesn’t run out of money. The final 20 minutes or so doesn’t mesh with the grandiose skill of the action sequences that precede it. Sure the Smiths get to take on 50 or so armed guards, but it falls back on the weaker aspects of the action milieu which is to watch the heroes fire and then cut to a bad guy getting shot. What happened to the money shots of Pitt firing away on the tricycle and Jolie with the Gatling gun from the trailer? Without the insecurity that would lead us to believe that the Smiths have jumped headlong into a Butch-and-Sundance situation, the tension is weakened and the excitement becomes moot. And if the Smiths are wearing bulletproof vests, how come none of the masked SWAT guys seem to? They’re all getting shot in the same place, aren’t they?

Jolie has finally been given a role that allows her to exude the acting chops she was credited with early in her career (without any pesky accents) while showing off the other attributes that belong on Planet Drool. Vince Vaughn shows up for old pal Liman in humor spades while inadvertently homaging his turn as Norman Bates. Unlike Ocean’s Twelve, any self-referential humor is just a bonus and not the norm. Mr. & Mrs. Smith works as much of a comedy as it does a guns-blazing action flick. It’s even better than that for the first 100 minutes. Liman has yet to bust out with his all-out action extravaganza masterpiece, but to be just one awesome finale short, we may just be a few years and one film away. As Jane Smith says, “happy endings are just stories that haven’t been finished yet.”

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12432&reviewer=198
originally posted: 06/11/05 03:50:40
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User Comments

12/06/12 JP Ward A preemptive vanity project 2 stars
3/17/10 PAUL SHORTT ENJOYABLE, SLICK ACTION ADVENTURE 3 stars
9/16/09 Caro Awesome action film...the cast is perfect and the comedy is brilliant. Love it to pieces! 5 stars
3/16/09 Monday Morning With such high-powered stars, why such a lame movie? 2 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
2/11/08 steve the ending sucks i was sittin there thinking why cant they die 1 stars
11/04/07 theyapper Some funny moments 3 stars
1/28/07 mets1986 Great fun.......... 5 stars
1/06/07 jeff one of the best couples since boggie and bacal- i thought it was GREAT!! 5 stars
12/21/06 ES Sleep through the first half hour, but when the fighting starts it ain't half bad 3 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini great action with a few comedy bits 3 stars
10/05/06 Charles Tatum Um, what was all the fuss about? 3 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist 1 WAY TICKET TO THE STUPIDFEST CONCERT!! 1 stars
7/08/06 Anthony Feor Jolie couldn't even save this wreck 1 stars
6/14/06 drydock54321 most of it was great and fun to watch, but NO ENDING! 3 stars
6/05/06 mary not good 1 stars
5/03/06 Ashley Hinz Loved it. I would like a sequel, but it might ruin the original. 5 stars
4/28/06 Alana M. Barquero I thought that this movie was great. Plus it has two HOT actors in it. 4 stars
2/28/06 Amber Wellman It's awesome.. it's funny,romantic,hot.... It's brillant! 5 stars
2/11/06 Loopt Sure it is slick and watchable, but not exactly containing much below the belt... 3 stars
2/10/06 Carolyn Rathburn awesome, loved the action and the naughtiness 5 stars
2/04/06 Denise Duspiva funny 4 stars
1/24/06 sweetgrrl1972 It's ALL in the fricken trailer so if you've seen that, you 've seen the "best" of the film 1 stars
1/23/06 Soha Molina Bad movie 1 stars
1/14/06 ALDO first half very good second half very bad 3 stars
1/09/06 Anthony Feor Brad and Angelina should consider retirement 2 stars
1/01/06 Anne Treadwell Didn't like the idea that violence (really nasty violence) is a marriage saver. 2 stars
12/23/05 chris total shite 1 stars
12/18/05 J.D. Pittman III I'm watching it agian now. It's hilarious besides the action. 5 stars
12/10/05 Quigley even though brad (please stop "acting") and jolie had chemistry, the movie was a cartoon 3 stars
12/05/05 od fun. strongly recommended. 5 stars
11/29/05 Cedric Angelina Jolie could get diarrhea, videotape it & be most watchable since Girl Interrupted. 1 stars
11/25/05 diana rogers it was a fun movie! 5 stars
10/20/05 Agent Sands Contrived, annoying, unfunny. Good technical filmmaking, but script is headache-inducing. 2 stars
10/12/05 Ava Rice More evidence that Angelina Jolie is a no-talent "actress" who lucked out once. 2 stars
9/13/05 bbbr good action mate 5 stars
9/06/05 Jakob Bascoban Boring action-comedy. Badly Written!!! 2 stars
8/28/05 Tom Burns Action packed and very, very funny. 5 stars
8/03/05 Sean D Good chemistry between Pitt and Jolie. Great movie. 5 stars
7/22/05 Quigley this movie is a cartoon story with total cartoon action. pitt & jolie had chemistry though 3 stars
7/20/05 Chris Much better than expected 4 stars
7/18/05 Rick Plenty of funny "married people moments", and Vince Vaughn's grandmother scene...priceless 3 stars
7/18/05 john Clothes is too revealing in movies theses days, no wounder Guys are doing stuff to women 1 stars
7/14/05 Matthew Rudawsky A bunch of unbelievable shootups, no real sex, no real plot. Don't bother. 1 stars
7/12/05 Anne There should have been more of Vince Vaugn and Adam Brody, good action-packed movie 5 stars
7/11/05 KELLEN MATHERS Entertaining plus Angelina Jolie - can't miss 4 stars
7/11/05 Peteca Entertaining 4 stars
7/05/05 Charlene Javier Angelina Jolie is HOT! The movie not so. 3 stars
7/05/05 whatevr at the very least, a good time killer 4 stars
7/05/05 Monday Morning A warm chunk of stool with too much action and not enough plot. 2 stars
7/04/05 DONALD Good premise. Gets boring. Too long. 3 stars
7/04/05 dave boring, and not worth reccomending 2 stars
7/03/05 sir spam-a-lot decent eye candy movie 4 stars
6/30/05 Minh minh 5 stars
6/30/05 Kankasaur The matinee was worth my 5 (or 6) dollars 4 stars
6/30/05 John Ay Enjoyed it a great deal. 4 stars
6/28/05 katheryne I really like they make a good couple i love them 5 stars
6/27/05 Koitus Like an "Ahnold" flick - apparently NO ONE is accurate! Angelina sexier in "Taking Lives!" 3 stars
6/23/05 sally angwin Brad and Angelina what more can I say??? 5 stars
6/23/05 M A re-done 'true lies', funny and awesome chemistry between the pitt/jolie 5 stars
6/18/05 Nancy Funny, Great Chemistry exactly what a summer flick should be 4 stars
6/17/05 Peteco Very good entertainment 4 stars
6/16/05 David Fun stuff if you can ingore the SUV sized plot holes and inconsistencies 4 stars
6/15/05 Titus Ending was weak, but all in all this was much better than most of the crap this year. 4 stars
6/14/05 E-FUNK Turn your brain off and enjoy. Pitt's funniest role. Angelina is pure eye-candy. 4 stars
6/13/05 Brangelina fan Great movie, stunning actors with undeniable chemistry, this pic will keep you on the edge 5 stars
6/13/05 Conrad Truly excellent fun 4 stars
6/13/05 Gini Fun, popcorn fare. A perfect summer movie - laughs and explosions 4 stars
6/13/05 jcjs no brainer funsi 4 stars
6/13/05 Charlene Javier Bored in between the awesome action scenes. 3 stars
6/13/05 Ornith My husband and I laughed ourselves sick-wit, booms, and *really* nice eye candy. Yea!!! 4 stars
6/12/05 BrianWilly Hilarious and exciting movie. 5 stars
6/12/05 KingNeutron Vaughn almost steals the show; very funny moments from all 3 major actors. 4 stars
6/12/05 NP Action sequences too long, story too weak. 1 stars
6/12/05 Lord Jiggy Funny, twisted, loses its way a little, but very enjoyable 5 stars
6/11/05 Krisan Graves What Chemistry! No wonder he left Jennifer, but i am still pissed at him :( 5 stars
6/11/05 Rosa St James LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT TO PIECES! 5 stars
6/11/05 Jay Typical hollywood action crap. 1 stars
6/11/05 Paul Did you just say "wankerous?" 3 stars
6/10/05 Littlepurch WAY better than I was expecting. Cast were perfect, action was great and it was hilarious!! 5 stars
6/10/05 Christen how awesone two prople that are married try and kill each other(ha ha ha) 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  10-Jun-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Nov-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  09-Jun-2005


Directed by
  Doug Liman

Written by
  Simon Kinberg

Cast
  Brad Pitt
  Angelina Jolie
  Vince Vaughn
  Adam Brody
  Angela Bassett
  Keith David



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