Mr. & Mrs. Smith (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/06/2005

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 119 mins

Slick and glossy but also shallow and annoying, this just about scrapes by thanks to the undeniable chemistry of its two leads.

Die-hard Hitchcock fans can breathe a sigh of relief – this isn’t a remake of his 1941 romantic comedy but a slick, glossy, explosion-heavy action comedy that comes tailor-made with two tabloid-friendly movie stars in the lead roles. Fortunately for the film, the chemistry between Pitt and Jolie is genuine, but the movie itself is ultimately disappointing.

The Story

Directed by Doug Liman, the film opens with John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) having marriage guidance sessions with an unseen third party. We flash back to when they met, five years ago (or six, depending on who you ask) and witness the beginning of their whirlwind romance.

However, even though they’ve been married for five (or six) years, neither John nor Jane has cottoned on to the fact that they both work as international assassins, despite the fact that John keeps an arsenal of weapons under his garage and Jane keeps hers underneath the oven. However, when they’re both hired to bump off the same person (The O.C.’s Adam Brody, not bothering to play against type) the sparks begin to fly in more ways than one…

The main problem with the film is that it’s entirely predictable from one moment to the next, even if you haven’t seen the trailer (which, unsurprisingly, gives away the entire thing). It also doesn’t help that the main idea is somewhat derivative – if you think it sounds familiar then you’ve probably seen Prizzi’s Honour or War of the Roses.

The Casting

To be fair, Pitt and Jolie are perfectly cast: they look gorgeous together and there’s genuine chemistry between them, particularly during their central fight / sex scene. The dialogue isn’t bad either – they both get their fair share of witty one-liners and the script has fun with the (literal) battle of the sexes stuff.

There’s also great support from Vince Vaughn as Pitt’s boorish boss and best friend who still lives with his mother. Sadly, however, Kerry Washington’s equivalent role as Jolie’s best friend seems to have ended up on the cutting room floor. (The naked nepotism on display in the film is actually quite shocking – Vaughn and Liman go back as far as Swingers and Liman is also one of the executive producers on The O.C., which explains Brody’s extended cameo).

The Problems

Liman handles the action scenes well enough but at two hours the film definitely outstays its welcome. In fact, the more you think about it (never a good idea where blockbusters are concerned), the more you realise how shallow and meaningless the whole film is. The ending is genuinely annoying – there’s no real resolution and the film substitutes a John Woo-style shootout for any attempt to wrap things up properly.

The Conclusion

In short, Mr & Mrs Smith is just about worth seeing for the chemistry between its two stars and for Vaughn’s amusing supporting turn, but the overall glossiness is designed to blind you to the fact that there’s very little substance here. Disappointing.

Film Trailer

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (15)
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Content updated: 22/10/2017 22:10

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