Main cast: Brad Pitt (John Smith), Angelina Jolie (Jane Smith), Vince Vaughn (Eddie), Adam Brody (Benjamin Diaz), Chris Weitz (Martin Coleman), and Rachael Huntley (Suzy Coleman)
Director: Doug Liman
Mr. & Mrs. Smith, in a perfect world, would be a fabulous movie. However, torn between the need to appeal to a mainstream audience and to maintain its dark noirish humor, the movie tries to compromise and ends up being a movie that is neither darkly funny enough nor violent enough to qualify as memorable. “Half-baked” is the perfect description for this confused movie.
Oh, and please don’t let Jennifer Aniston watch this movie. I think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have more chemistry than Brad Pitt and his ex and I think that won’t be pleasant on poor Ms Aniston. Then again, has Angelina Jolie never exude chemistry with anyone? I love her. She’s manic, she’s crazy, she’s passionate, and she throws herself into her roles like she’s not sure whether she’s going to have sex or kick someone’s butt. So why does she keep showing up in mediocre movies? For Brad Pitt, well, I suppose this is a step-up from The Mexican.
Mr Pitt plays “John Smith”, an assassin. While on a gig in a South American country some five or six years ago (he says five, she says six, the marriage counselor is confused), he tries to avoid the local law enforcers who are looking for suspicious lone tourists by pretending that this beautiful woman, obviously a tourist also trying to avoid the law enforcers, is the woman he’s with. She’s “Jane”. Because she’s crazy and wild – gee, just like Angelina Jolie – and dances with abandon in the rain – every Angelina Jolie movie has her doing something like this – he and she end up in bed and, later, married.
Cut to five or six years later where the both of them still do not know that each of them is married to a professional assassin. The pretense at being the perfect suburban couple is slowly killing their marriage. However, their marriage may finally be saved when they both end up trying to kill Benjamin “The Tank” Diaz, a geeky brat who is inexplicably wanted by so many people, and their true identities are revealed to each other. The thing is, they have two weeks to kill each other once their identities are compromised to the other person. Who will kill who first?
If this movie truly embraces its darker side, this movie would revel in its antiheroic and amoral characters. Instead, Mr Pitt portrays John Smith like a good-natured bumbling goof while Ms Jolie’s Jane turns out to be some misunderstood poor little orphan who is looking for love but is also scared of it. Give me a break. Won’t it be great if this movie revels in John Smith being some good-natured cold-blooded killer while Jane is an icy woman who gets her kicks from bloodshed? What I get instead is a movie that tries very hard to “moralize” the characters by making sure that I see very little of John and Jane Smith in action. The one time they go out on an individual mission, John kills an obviously evil crime boss while Jane kills a man dealing with smuggling of arms. The people who want them dead in this movie are walking masked agents of death with machine guns and the lousiest aim this side of the world, all with the program to make sure that John and Jane Smith come off as nice as possible.
But the movie sometimes forget that and let John and Jane Smith rip things up, such as that truly delicious and nasty long-drawn scene of them bloodying up each other only to get so aroused by the pain and the adrenaline rush that they stop trying to break each other’s bones but instead jump on bones instead. But these moments of sheer perverted brilliance are few and what few there are are lost in a sea of disappointingly mundane car chases and shoot-outs.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is just too doggone nice at the end of the day. Its timidity is its downfall and a lesson about how sometimes being too mainstream and therefore being too self-conscious about “niceness” can cripple a movie with a promising storyline.