Mr. and Mrs. Smith


Mr. and Mrs. Smith has a great premise – an average couple, getting a bit bored and tired in their marriage, who find out they’re on opposing sides as secret killers for hire… do they kill each other, or rediscover the thing that attracted them to each other in the first place? (And there’s nothing I’ve said there that isn’t seen in the trailer, that has been ubiquitous on small- and large-screen for months, so don’t go saying I spoiled it).

Mr. and Mrs. SmithBrad and Angelina are great in this film. There has been a lot made of their on-screen chemistry, and the possibility of off-screen romance, but I’m not going to buy into that. Except to say they would make some good lookin’ babies. They have a spark, a certain something, that makes them extremely watchable together, and were it not for some lax direction, this could have made for a great film.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith starts out a little slowly. Introducing us as if we don’t know what they really do, the director assumes we are all going to be surprised when the big ‘revelation’ occurs. Either he didn’t see the trailer, or he is assuming we all somehow missed it. This is yet another case of the trailer giving away far too much of the film, and it’s a shame, as the ‘surprise’ may have been a fun and intriguing one had I actually been surprised. It’s most likely that some idiot intern made the trailer and the director was sabotaged, ruining it for us all.

The trailer also commits another fault – either those who made it only had access to some very early ‘dailies’ which had a vastly different script, or it has overdubbed lines that don’t feature in the film, replacing the true lines that do. This is a grave sin in my book. Not only have we been force-fed this trailer, with all its surprise-plot-ruining goodness, but we have learnt to expect certain lines to accompany certain vision. This makes the true lines jar with the audience, as we are expecting something other, and it immediately draws one out of the experience and back into the real world. For a movie attempting to pull off a fantasy of sorts, or an allegory on marriage, it is very harmful to the overall tone to be constantly getting annoyed that the trailer tricked us.

That being said, there are some really fun moments in this film… in fact it works best when it stops taking itself seriously. There are scenes where Jolie and Pitt sizzle, and there are some moments of fantastic scripting, where the violence and gun battles become something more than just great action sequences… they become commentary on the process of working out one’s differences with another. It’s a shame more of this couldn’t have seeped through, and the direction is to blame in this case, but those moments lift this film above the run-of-the-mill.

Were it not for the trailer, I may have really enjoyed this as an above average action-comedy, with good scripting, and enjoyable repartee between the two leads. Disappointingly, I wasn’t allowed to do so.

Rating: 3.0 stars
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 7th June 2005
Hoopla Factor: 3.0 stars


After reading Mark’s review I could be very brief and simply say: Ditto.

But of course I’m quite competitive and don’t want Mark’s word count to ever exceed mine, thus:

Mr. and Mrs. SmithI’m pretty much in agreement with his evaluation of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Certainly, the atrocities committed by the makers of the trailer are unforgivable – I was never surprised by this film since I’d seen a condensed two minute version already. With regards to the cheating done in the trailer, I think it was more often a case of alternate takes being used rather than including shots ditched from the film. (For the supreme example of this, have a look at the trailer for 1999’s The Thirteenth Floor – a huge portion of the footage doesn’t even appear in the movie.) If you’ve seen the trailer for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the first 45 minutes are pretty much redundant, as we have to wait for the characters to work out stuff we’ve known for at least a month.

It is Pitt and Jolie that save this film from being a complete waste of time. Their onscreen charisma is fantastic, and they work wonderfully together despite the lacklustre script. The main problem with Mr. and Mrs. Smith is that there is pretty much no subplot at all – absolutely none. The supporting characters have barely anything to do – Vince Vaughn’s role seems gratuitous and Keith David’s miniscule appearance competes with Lindsay Crouse’s in The Impostor for the smallest cameo ever.

The action sequences are at times fantastic, and this is one of the few elements that work in the film’s favour. The car chase in particular is brilliant, and Doug Liman is getting pretty nifty with his action movies (although this doesn’t really come close to The Bourne Identity).

A bit of a let down really.

Rating: 2.5 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 1st January 1970
Hoopla Factor: 3.0 stars

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