Bottom Line: Smart, entertaining blend of action, comedy, and romance from Angelina and Brad.
Directed by: Doug Liman
Starring: Adam Brody, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt
Off screen married couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie portray titular on screen married couple in thrilling romantic action-comedy. The two, John and Jane, are suffering a bored, unsatisfying marriage, and neither of them can fully recall when the last time was that they made love or even how long their marriage has lasted. The two are appalled to learn that she has been hired by an agency to kill him, and vice-versa.
The most enjoyable part about MR. & MRS. SMITH is its surprising level of suspense. The plot alone is so breathtaking that a viewer is guaranteed to tense up upon seeing Jolie’s character draw a kitchen knife, turning out quite cheaply to be for the singular purpose of preparing supper. Combined with the electrifying music and Jolie’s well-voiced dialogue, this works out in a way we know as “Hitchcockian”.
For me, by far the best performance given was by Vince Vaughn. Vaughn portrays Eddie, John Smith’s co-worker, neighbor, and buddy who still lives in his mother’s house. If anything, it is him who makes this a romantic action-comedy rather than just an action-romance, and he makes the viewer forget the overwhelming, dull irony throughout much of the film. He does not make humor out of every situation, which is something to be thankful for, but he rather throws in the occasional adolescent view of the married assassins situation Pitt’s character is in. (Not to mention his hysterical quips about his obnoxious mother.) The worst performance, on the other hand, was by Angelina Jolie. She delivers her character unevenly: in the first thirty some minutes of the film, she is no more than in a ho-hum relationship; all of a sudden, once she has been hired, her personality becomes malicious, and she appears eager to murder her husband; and around thirty minutes later, she is unusually and madly in love with her husband. To add to that, whenever she was addressing her husband, she always mockingly addressed him as “Baby”. How irritating and redundant.
Though the comedy genre has its entertaining placement in this film, the action genre is much more concise and abundant. The action sequences are creatively and coolly laid out. In one scene, jazz music is played in the background to foreshadow a quick transition between action and romance. At first, this musical type seems irrelevant to the violent, gritty tone, but the “ah” moment comes in a somewhat rewarding fashion. Many modern actioners are made clear to perform as “standard action fares”; you can count this out of that category.