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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.63%
Worth A Look46.25%
Average: 21.25%
Pretty Bad: 9.38%
Total Crap: 7.5%

13 reviews, 82 user ratings

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Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
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by Jay Seaver

"Nothing below the surface, but what a pretty surface it is!"
4 stars

Slick. There's no other word for this movie. Most of its pleasures are thoroughly superficial ones, and nothing that happens would likely hold up to much scrutiny. But it's tough to slice up; director Doug Liman applies a coat of teflon to everything, so complaints just sort of slide off, and one is left looking at how pretty the movie and its stars are, and at least enjoying it on that level.

The premise is ridiculous, of course - John and Jane Smith (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) have been married five or six years, all the while unaware that the other is an assassin. Their marriage is having conventional difficulties as the movie starts, and things get much worse when they're both assigned the same target. They get in each other's way, the target escapes, and when each figures out that the other is responsible, the only way to stay in good with their mysterious employers is to take out their spouses. Gunplay and black comedy ensues.

Slick, high quality gunplay. Doug Liman has had a movie every three years since he first appeared on the radar in 1996 with Swingers. Each new film since has been bigger and more technically demanding (and also featured bigger stars, sometimes a challenge in itself), and each time Liman has been up to the challenge. There's nothing specific about Mr. & Mrs. Smith that marks it as his, but also little that's notably off. Maybe the amorality of the characters - both John and Jane say they never had trouble sleeping after killing someone, and we never really learn who either is working for. They could be NSA, or they could be working for Cobra Commander; a certain ruthless expediency tends to motivate his characters more than right and wrong. Which means we've got to be sold pretty much on the characters being interesting enough to root for, rather than them being in the right. Which is where the cast comes in.

Angelina Jolie is one of the most delightfully physical actresses of the present day. Not just because she's extremely well-constructed and dressed to accentuate it, which is absolutely the case, but because she's got a highly expressive face and an ability to project athleticism and power despite not really looking thick or muscular. The latter is important because we're not going to believe in her secret life if there's not confidence and strength in her every move; the ability to communicate by raising an eyebrow or pursing her lips lets her contrast her thoughts and words, and also makes her an excellent foil for Brad Pitt.

Just as Jolie is the best tough gals Hollywood has to offer, Pitt's the rare fellow who can consistently make smarmy charming. He's like a little kid at times, thoroughly enjoying his ability to get away with something, or at least to try to get away with it, which we see from the very first scene, as he connives to get the "right" answer as John and Jane go to couples counseling. The trick is to be just cocky enough to get under Jane's skin, but not so smug that his skill doesn't back most of it up. His movements are less fluid and graceful than Jolie's, which fits his character's wiseass, improvising personality.

The movie's not-so-secret weapon is Vince Vaughn as John's colleague Eddie; his clipped delivery and equally casual amorality makes John look warm in comparison. Jolie tends to come off looking more like the bad guy because Kerry Washington just isn't as good a banter-mate as Vaughn is. Still, when push comes to shove, it's how Pitt and Jolie bounce off each other that makes the movie. They're casual and confident even as the situation gets more ridiculous and violent, displaying just enough hurt to make the chaos they're involved in a bit more than completely empty violence. It's absurd, and the characters know it's absurd, but they don't treat it as something so absurd it could only happen in a movie.

Which is good, because a lot of whining can get in the way of the visceral pleasures of watching things get shot to hell and blown up. Liman builds upon the chase and action skills he manifested in Go and The Bourne Identity, and while we don't exactly see where every bullet is heading, the action's not just a bunch of information-free close-ups, even though a lot of the action is done in fairly close quarters. The gunplay is the type that shreds anything less sturdy that a refrigerator door, and leaves serious-looking impact craters on that, with the end result being environments that look as damaged as the Smiths' marriage. It's not a particularly complex visual metaphor, but it's a resonant and, just as importantly, cool-looking one.

Ultimately, it's all about the looking cool; the appeal comes from these people not being characters, but being movie stars projecting the basic persona they're best at. Not deep, but this movie doesn't need depth: Its surface is excellent, and it doesn't need to offer much more.

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originally posted: 09/05/05 14:10:56
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell well made & entertaing action flick 4 stars
12/06/12 JP Ward A preemptive vanity project 2 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
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  10-Jun-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Nov-2005



Directed by
  Doug Liman

Written by
  Simon Kinberg

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

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