Mr. and Mrs. Smith
This film comes into the
theaters with the weight of so much media scrutiny that the movie is almost
overshadowed by the tabloid hype. Did it cause Brad and Jen to break
up? Are Brad and Angelina as hot and heavy on screen as they may or
may not be in real life? (Depending on whose publicist's denials you
dismiss...) Did he really make her scream like a wild cat? Will
it be any better than most of the other movies which were apparently spawned
by a sizzling relationship? (Can you say Gigli or Proof of
Life anyone?) Does anyone even care that there is a film connected
to the possible affair of arguably the two hottest (in looks if not box
office) stars in Hollywood?
Well, with the public caring
or not, there actually is a film called Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The
big surprise here is, it's actually a rather good movie even if you are most
likely to go to
see it for the sizzle rather than the steak.
If the storyline sounds a
little bit familiar, it is because it is essentially the 1986 black comedy
Prizzi's Honor turned up to eleven, with the action super-amped up
for a post-Bruckheimer world. Brad Pitt plays John Smith, an assassin
for hire. Angelina Jolie is Jane Smith, who also makes a living making
sure others stop living. They meet muy caliente in South
America when both of them are incognito on a job. A night of
incredible passion leads to a marriage with an incredible lack of passion.
Five years later (or
six, one of the funniest running gags in the film is the couple's complete inability
to agree on the amount of time served) the two have barely a thing to say
each to other. They can't reveal their true identities and careers
(you'd think the names would be a clue) so they make hideous small talk
All of this tired and tiring
posturing blows up in their faces when they both get the same assignment for
a hit from different sources. When they blow each other's kill they
get new contracts, on each other.
A funny thing happens,
though, apparently attempted murder and wanton destruction returns the zip
to their boring wedded existence. Quickly they are in the middle of an
internal tug-of-war about whether they should murder each other or just fuck
each other senseless. This seems like an extreme form of couples
therapy, but it seems to work for the Smiths.
There really doesn't need to
be anyone else in the film, but Vince Vaughn turns in one of his usual
clever readings as Pitt's partner in crime, a jittery loser who lives with
his mother "by choice" and trusts no one.
Most of this is surprisingly
funny, particularly in the early scenes contrasting Pitt and Jolie's
dangerous work lives with their stagnant personal lives. There is some
very subtle comic timing as they argue about the curtains, unconvincingly
complement the food and lie about what they did with their days.
Of course, the most
important question is just this; do Pitt and Jolie have chemistry? The
answer is simply this -- absolutely, in spades. They have smoldering
power to spare, explosive and unpredictable and potent. Not only is it
obvious that their characters want to have each other in the worst way, the
audience feels it as well.
However, by the end, the
film just careens out of control, so in love with its spectacular firefights
and shattering explosions that all of the dark character comedy that was so
appealing throughout the film gets bulldozed. A little more of the
Pitt/Jolie fireworks and a little less of the total annihilation of hotels,
restaurants and superstores would make this a better movie. (6/05)
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Posted: June 30, 2005.