Mr & Mrs Smith

Mr & Mrs Smith


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

You cannot ask too often: where is Cary Grant? Where is Katharine Hepburn?

Names (George Clooney, Cate Blanchett) flutter at the window of expectation and die there, because no one is writing witty, intelligent scripts any more, except Charlie Kaufman, but he's too weird for Mr & Mrs Mainstream.

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As for Mr & Mrs Smith, the concept is halfway interesting, the production so overburdened with explosive devices it might have been made in Iraq and the screenplay is as appetising as damp toast. As for the performances, what is missing is what has been hyped to the skies - good chemistry. Brad Pitt has the comic timing of a camel and Angelina Jolie, while lithe, svelte and every adjective indicating sex-on-legs, is in full Lara Croft mode, with added sophistication.

The plot implodes into incomprehension and disbelief. John and Jane (is this a joke?) have been married almost six years and don't know a thing about each other. He is a professional assassin, pretending to be a building executive. She is a professional assassin, pretending to be a wife.

Let's not talk about True Lies and how much better it is in every respect - Brad could learn a thing or two from the Governor about playing an action hero with a sense of humour - because where this film falls down is not knowing where it's going in the first place.

It starts with an utterly naff, seemingly tagged on, straight-to-camera therapy session with an unseen marriage guidance counsellor (?), in which the Smiths are questioned about their relationship. This is supposed to be funny - emphasis on "supposed" - and leads into the big flashback that becomes the movie.

The twist, or rather the raison d'etre, is that John and Jane respectively are ordered to eliminate each other. Ordered by whom? There is no attempt to explain their clandestine working patterns. Vince Vaughn is connected to Pitt's undercover activity, but how and why remains a mystery. A group of Bondette-style bimbos, including the wonderful Kerry Washington, accompanies Jolie on assignments, giving the impression of a finely tuned organisation - excuse me, what organisation?

It is all to no avail, because, in the end, this is a shoot-'em-up, in which the Smiths face firepower that makes Black Hawk Down look like a sideshow. Guess what? Don't! You know the answer and the outcome. Predictability is essential to Hollywood's blockbusting formulae. What hurts even more than witnessing the exposure of Pitt's shallow skills is the knowledge that such a messy, unsubtle film was directed by the man who made the irrepressible, inventive and hilarious Swingers.

Reviewed on: 11 Jun 2005
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Mr & Mrs Smith packshot
Husband and wife assassins find themselves targeting each other.
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Read more Mr & Mrs Smith reviews:

John Gallagher ****
Themroc *

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Simon Kinberg

Starring: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Keith David, Chris Weitz, Rachael Huntley, Michelle Monaghan, Stephanie March, Jennifer Morrison

Year: 2005

Runtime: 120 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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If you like this, try:

True Lies