Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)

Reviewed By Brian McKay
Posted 01/20/06 04:04:18

"A rare example of how 'disposable entertainment' doesn't always mean 'crap'"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

MR. AND MRS. SMITH is by no means grounbreaking or earth-shattering cinema. Its plot is mish mash of films like TRUE LIES, THE WAR OF THE ROSES, and even a light sprinkling of SPY KIDS with a grown-up slant. As far as blockbuster entertainment goes, it's completely disposable, completely forgettable, and completely enjoyable. Plus it stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, so everyone gets something that's easy on the eyes.

In fact, the on-screen chemistry between the two is a lot of what makes the film work. Setting aside whatever heat they may have taken about their personal lives, Pitt and Jolie deliver a very likable (if too damn attractive for their own good) couple in the form of John and Jane Smith. When the two meet, sparks fly, and they quickly find themselves in bed and then in a marriage not long after - neither one realizing that their spouse is an assassin (Whether they are supposed to be government agents or merely contract killers is never quite clear, but never seems to matter either way). After living under a cloud of deception for five years, and growing increasingly distant from each other because of it, the Smiths ultimately stumble upon each other's secret identities, eschewing the divorce court system as they pursue a seperation from each other the old fashioned way - with firepower.

But in the course of trading bullets and punches, the two realize that they really do love each other, and each actor manages to portray a few genuine moments of loss and longing. It's not much, and they don't last very long, but it's enough to convince the viewer that the characters have genuine feelings for each other and that they are worth caring about. This is a nice touch, since each of the characters could have easily just devolved into gun-toting and one-liner cracking caricatures. Their love for each other doesn't stop them from engaging in amusing little games of "whose the better spy" one-upmanship, however.

Vince Vaughan phones it in as John's bachelor friend Eddie, who is also an assassin but lives with his mother at the age of 35 because "she's the only woman I can trust!" Even though he does the same familiar shtick he's somehow been able to parlay into a career, his presence still adds a nice comedic touch (although he's no Tom Arnold in the spy sidekick role).

As could be expected, the film ends in a slow-mo ballet of bullets as the Smiths perform a ballistic tango against the inter-agency goons sent to kill them both. It's a fun little denoument to a fun little film, one that won't insult your intelligence or force you to strain your grey matter by trying to keep up with too many convoluted subplots. In other words, it's a near-perfect popcorn movie. See it, love it, then move it right along, folks.

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