Let’s be honest — who hasn’t wanted to kill their husband or wife at one time or another? Or at least maim them.
That’s the gem of an idea at the heart of the slick, entertaining Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which puts a fresh spin on a moldy premise. You see, John Smith (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) appear to be a fairly average bored young married couple living in suburbia, in a marriage where the thrill is starting to leave.
Of course, they’ve got secrets from each other — they’re both actually deadly assassins, living dual lives. When both the Smiths are hired for the same job, their secrets come out — and a lot of enmity ensues as the two battling assassins try to take each other out to protect their own hides.
It’s all tremendously silly, of course, and despite the fact they’re supposed to be cold-blooded killers you don’t really buy Pitt and Jolie as mass murderers. But if you go along for the ride, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, is gunfire-packed popcorn fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
With Pitt and Jolie in the leads, you definitely don’t get tired of looking at them. But what helps Mr. & Mrs. Smith, is that Pitt and Jolie really make you believe in a loveless marriage running out of steam. When they start shooting at each other, it almost seems like a natural progression rather than just the plot grinding along.
Pitt and Jolie have a sharp chemistry (so strong that they ended up a couple in real life, you might have heard), Pitt’s slacker charm bouncing well off Jolie’s cat-like menace. Whether they’re brawling or cuddling, the two are a top-notch pair.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith, is directed in a hyper-kinetic fashion by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), who can’t seem to let the camera go a few frames without shaking it. He stages an endless series of gun battles, which begin to get a little old in the final 20 minutes. The ending pushes the absurdity into overdrive and is rather abrupt, avoiding most of the interesting questions raised in favor of stale clichés.
But despite some flaws, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, mostly delivers what it promises — glamorous stars, lots of fightin’ and feudin’, and if it doesn’t seem real believable in the end, we forgive it. I mean, Brad and Angelina just look so good doing it!
The verdict: *** of ****