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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 Peter Sobczynski

"Pretty people making things go boom."
3 stars

“Mr. & Mr. Smith” is a film about a married couple struggling with the fact that the excitement and spice has gone out of their six-year-marriage. Of course, since it is a big-budget summer extravaganza designed to pack multiplexes, the couple is portrayed by two of the hottest faces on the planet–Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie–and their preferred form of therapy is to try to kill each other while expensive scenery blows up real good all around them. Sure, it may sound a bit extreme but I suppose that over-the-top fistfights and the occasional car chase are preferable to sitting on a couch opposite the likes of Dr. Phil.

After a prologue illustrating how John (Pitt) and Jane (Jolie) met and immediately sparked in Colombia, the film cuts to their agonizingly banal domestic routine–boring suburban parties, his-and-hers bathroom sinks and arguments over the new curtains in the living room. What they don’t know–although it is information that presumably every person in the theater possesses–is that the two have more in common with each other than they suspect. Both are, in fact, highly-trained assassins for rival government agencies who travel the globe and kill fascinating people. The problem is that they have each succeeded so completely at creating an ordinary facade in order to live a normal life off the clock that they have all but choked all the life out of their marriage–they are so stuck in their routine that they hardly acknowledge each other anymore and when they do, their outwardly bland conversations are laced with tinges of annoyance.

Things change when both are hired by their respective employers to go to Mexico in order to wipe out Benjamin Danz (Adam Brody, essentially playing the same character that he does on “The O.C.”) before he can testify in an upcoming trial. Not knowing each other’s identities, John and Jane spend so much time trying to remove each other from the scene that the hit itself is botched. Before long, each discovers that the other was the second assassin and they are ordered by their superiors (who presumably know nothing of their relationship) to tie up the loose ends in the messiest way possible. After a tense dinner, where the table seems to have more knives than a cutlery store, things boil over and each stomps off into the night–Jane to her own all-female death squad, which seems to be where the D.E.B.S. go after graduation, and John to the couch of best pal Eddie (Vince Vaughn), whose views on women are not the most helpful.

As the film progresses, the screenplay by Simon Kinberg follows the rules of the relationship picture by finding an action-film equivalent for the key moments. They return to the restaurant where he first proposed to her, but he slams her around the dance floor in an especially violent rendition of the tango and she slips a bomb in his jacket. (“It was just a little one.”) John confronts Jane at her office and much structural damage ensues. Finally, they return to the home that is the epicenter of their martial discord and they vent all of their frustrations, albeit with rocket launchers instead of drunken recriminations, and discover to their astonishment that a.) there is still a spark between them after all and b.) that there are plenty of people who want to extinguish their sparks once and for all.

The premise of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” sounds funny, I guess, but the problem with the screenplay is that it is all premise and no follow-through. Once the idea of a heavily armed marital conflict is established, there are no further twists on the material. The first half of the film maintains an effective balance between visual pyrotechnics and genuine wit–the first fight scene between John and Jane is a clever mixture of physical and emotional violence that ends with a car crash that, for once, is actually very funny because it is done in an understated manner that catches you off-guard. However, the second half, with the exception of a car chase that manages to work in such oddball elements as a SUV and an especially bathetic Air Supply tune amidst the vehicular carnage, suddenly dispenses with all of the wit and charm as it allows the second-unit guys to come in and do their stuff. Even the outsize personalities of Pitt and Jolie wind up being all but forgotten as bullets fly and buildings collapse.

It is a shame because when the film does work, it has a quirky, slap-happy vibe (courtesy of director Doug Liman, whose credits include such fare as “Go” and “The Bourne Identity”) that is kind of refreshing. Although I have a sneaky suspicion that the film might have played better with a couple of more ordinary-looking actors who might better represent a mundane marriage–for some reason, the notion of Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis reuniting here tickles my fancy–Pitt and Jolie are admittedly inspired choices. While Jolie is capable of better, more challenging work, she gives a sly performance in which she is able to equally deploy her sense of humor, her devastating sexiness and her fearlessness towards action sequences (there hasn’t been an American actress who has looked this comfortable in a balls-to-the-wall action context since Sigourney Weaver stopped doing the “Alien” films). Pitt, who has always excelled in roles where he gets to mock his pretty-boy persona (“Fight Club,” which gets a strange shout-out here, being perhaps the best example), is also quite good in a part that subverts many action-stud notions–not only does he get his butt handed to him by a woman in many fights, he is also more than willing to fight back just as viciously–and scores a lot of laughs with throwaway lines which may not sound like much on paper (“Web of lies!”) but which are hilarious in the context of the scene. And while he plays the same character that he does in most of his films, Vince Vaughn also score big laughs as Pitt’s sleazo buddy, a guy who can take a simple ice-cream order and make it sound like the most depraved thing in the world.

I don’t really have a lot of enthusiasm for “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”–the early scenes promise something that the final scenes can’t quite deliver–but I do have a certain amount of affection for it; it is impossible to completely dislike a film where a kiss-off line delivered before the inevitable violence is, “Those new curtains were hideous!” If you approach it simply as a goof that could be described as the most impossibly glamorous version of the old “Spy vs. Spy” comic that used to appear in “Mad,” I guess it kind of works. However, it could have been so much more–especially with the potent combination of Jolie, Pitt and Liman–that it is hard to see “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” as anything other than a mildly entertaining film that should have been so much more.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12432&reviewer=389
originally posted: 06/10/05 14:10:18
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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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