Mr. & Mrs. Smith Review
”How often do you have sex?”
”I don't understand the question.”
Ahhh, married life eh? Now I don't know if you could call this an action movie with a romantic theme, but I have to say it's more like a romantic movie with a lot of action. Meet the Smiths, John (Pitt) and Jane (Jolie), the former works in construction and the latter works in computers. Well, that's what they tell everyone, including each other - when actually both are assassins who are hired by different agencies to undertake the required work. Married life for them however is a drag, as the above quote taken during the opening scene of their therapy illustrates. However, during a particular hit, their paths cross as one basically ruins the others target, although at this juncture they are still oblivious as to who ruined the hit. Of course, after it all goes pear-shaped, they are quite rightly ticked off and have to find out who caused them this error, which of course goes down like a lead balloon, when they find out it is their spouse. Cue numerous attacks on each other, from dinner time fiasco to elevator death traps, we follow their attempts at eliminating each other (which they have been tasked to do) throughout almost the remainder of the movie.
”You still alive baby?”
I wish, oh how I wish, I could write more of a synopsis than that, but that's the movie in a nut shell - we're a couple, oh we're assassins really, oh we've found out, oh let's kill each other. OK I'm omitting the ending part, but is it me or does it sound a little like War of the Roses, only with more guns and ammo and less black comedy? Well, it is actually quite funny in its own way, with John taking the brunt of the punch lines, from Jane planting her foot in his lower extremities after he's kicked her repeatedly in the stomach to her revealing she slept with 312 men (some were 2 at a time), the barbs certainly fly as much as the ammo does. While the first half of the movie concentrates on establishing the marriage, their jobs as assassins and how skilled they are in their profession, it still has a few action scenes - John and Jane both performing an assassination and then the sequence of the hit gone wrong, but once we get to the scene where they finally find out who is their "rival", it switches gear and becomes more action-oriented, but still with some of the one-liners intact, although these one liners have more in common with Barbara Rose than Arnold Schwarzenegger et al. In fact some of the interactions as a married couple are amusing, where Jane is thinking about changing the curtains, to which John looks bemused and confused as to why they need changing when there's nothing wrong with them at all. Even the exchange over dinner, where peas have been added (the little green things) shows how routine this marriage (and possibly a lot of others) is. I'm not going to analyse that too much, being happily un-married (managed?), but I'm sure that couples will relate and empathise with some of these elements.
”Ask us the sex question............ (whispers) Ten”
Performance wise, ignoring all the alleged goings on between the leads, Pitt and Jolie equip themselves well here, with Pitt arguably being his normal self in movies and Jolie proving she can do action arguably better and more convincing than other actresses, as well as coping better with the comedic material this time around, after the less than stellar “Life Or Something Like It”. Chemistry they have in spades and they look and play off each other very well, even if I am ever so slightly jealous. Vince Vaughn, the only other real name in this movie, is in it so infrequently to be honest and I don't think he'll ever beat his role in “Swingers” anyway and the supporting cast is fleeting - indeed this is a two horse race more than any movie I've seen in a long time. Having said that, it doesn't really need anyone else, although in fairness, I'd have appreciated a lot more in the way of plot, particularly in the motivation as to why they were such a threat if they stayed together as a couple. Still this is a damn entertaining movie, for both those who want to see War of the Roses-lite in terms of humour and for action fans.