What do you call movie eye-candy gone so wrong that you’d rather stick forks in your eyes than watch to the end?
Bloated vanity vehicle Mr and Mrs Smith, perchance?
Say you were perusing the dreck on the New Release shelves of your nearest DVD store, and you spotted the cover for Mr and Mrs Smith. You may have said to yourself, “Hmmm, an action flick sporting two of Hollywood’s hottest — here’s an excuse to disengage, sit back and enjoy a couple of happy, brainless hours ogling very good-looking people in tight, expensive clothes.”
Beware, I cry! Mr and Mrs Smith will make you pay for such breezy insouciance.
Any mistaken notions you might have had about Brad Pitt’s charm, or Angelina Jolie’s acting abilities, will be brutally dispatched from the get-go. I kept double-guessing myself: were the two leads actually aiming for some kind of obscure irony? Could that be it? They certainly seemed to be smirking their way through the majority of their lines. But how many times can you watch Angelina Jolie pout and narrow her eyes before you want to smack her upside the head? And Brad Pitt. Brad, Brad, Brad. When will you learn that mumbling incoherently and flashing your boyish grin (and your pecs) does not disguise the fact that you are to charm what a black hole is to light? Not even a spark – not so much as a dim flicker – escapes the perfunctory hatchet job you call acting.
The worst of it was, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie portraying Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie — practicing dress-up. (Like watching two life-sized human versions of Ken and Barbie. Except Ken and Barbie have more charisma.) Of course, pure escapist fantasy is the raison d’être of this movie. But seriously. I found it creepy. As if I was looking in on a couple of kids earnestly playing make-believe. The difference is, when it’s a couple of children, you think it’s cute. When it’s two obscenely overpaid movie stars it just makes you want to cringe. Or throw up.
Mr and Mrs Smith’s real crime is not that it’s charmless, or a bloated exercise in narcissism. It’s that it’s boring. Deadeningly so. Despite the explosions, car chases and myriad costume changes, two hours in this particular movie universe feels like an eternity. You keep waiting for the film to lift up. For the promised sizzle. Or at the very least, a little bit of dazzle. But all we get is damp slop.
When did mindless dribble become so dreary? I thought it was supposed to be fun? I thought that was the whole point? Picking lint out of your belly button is more scintillating (and undoubtedly more titillating) than this great big snore of a flick.