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).
Brad 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: