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Mr. and Mrs. Smith


A romantic comedy disguised as an action movie, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is a fun, summer popcorn movie that actually manages to get in a few humorous but truthful bits on relationships and marriage.
Featuring two undeniably sexy stars, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is one of those movies you don’t have to think about but instead can just sit back and let wash over you. Yet it’s not dumbed down. Fast-paced with just the right blend of genres, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is surprisingly good.

Before delving into an analysis of the film, I just want to make this quick point. This review will ignore the elephant standing in the middle of the room. If you're not sure what elephant I’m referring to, then you haven’t been reading the gossipy tabloid papers that seem to be on a mission of life and death importance trying to figure out what’s going on between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. That’s the elephant we’re just going to pretend doesn’t exist.

Back to the movie. The plot’s fairly simple. Jane and John meet while down in Columbia where they’re both on assignment. Neither has a clue what the other one’s up to and after much alcohol and a night of what we can assume is passionate love-making, they become a couple. Fast forward a few months and now they’re Mr. and Mrs. Smith. He believes she handles computer problems for major companies; she believes he’s a big shot in construction. Fast forward even further and now they’ve been married five or six years and they’ve got problems, major relationship problems that necessitate visiting a marriage counselor.

After being together for all those years, you’d think they would have figured out that something doesn’t add up. But no, neither figures out the other’s an assassin until they’re both sent out by their competing companies to take out the same target. The cat’s out of the bag and all bets are off – toss in your own cliché here – as those marital problems they were suffering from before suddenly look like small potatoes. Never forgetting it’s a romantic comedy at heart, the action sequences take over once Mr. and Mrs. discover what their partner really does for a living.

Simon Kinberg’s script is saucy and engaging and director Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity”) adeptly handles the action and comedy. We don’t often get to see a man and woman engaged in an all-out brawl, but Liman lets the fight scene between Jolie and Pitt get as physical as possible without cutting away too much or cute camera tricks. And while it's a little unnerving to watch their hand-to-hand combat, it makes sense. She’s an assassin, why would her opponent need to hold back?

Fighting, making love, clinched in each other’s embrace on the dance floor, verbally fencing, whatever the circumstance or scene, the pairing of Pitt and Jolie works. They physically match up. Jolie plays Mrs. Smith just as physically capable – and lethal – as Pitt does Mr. Smith. In fact, the female is actually the better of the two assassins. Her moves are planned out meticulously; her actions follow a logical path. He relies more on his instincts and isn’t as fast on his feet as his female counterpart. It’s refreshing to see a female character be allowed to get the upper hand mentally and physically on her male costar, especially in a movie where the leads are portraying professional killers.

How good are Jolie and Pitt together onscreen? We’re talking serious chemistry here. I haven’t seen Brad Pitt look this sexy for at least a decade and Angelina Jolie is blazingly hot. The sparks are almost visible when the two face off in the film. And yes, believe anything you’ve heard about the sex scenes. While there’s very little actual flesh exposed, the heat generated during their more intimate moments is palpable.

Vince Vaughn pops in as Brad Pitt’s best buddy and co-worker, providing a little comic relief whenever the movie slows down a skosh. The movie has funny bits but whenever Vaughn’s onscreen, the comedy is kicked up a few notches. Whenever his character’s riffing on John for being in a controlling marriage or defending the fact he still lives with his mom (the only woman he can trust), Vaughn delivers some of the biggest laughs in the movie – and even manages to steal a semi-pivotal scene from right underneath Pitt and Jolie.

There are plot holes and a couple of things (don’t worry, this is entirely spoiler-free) don’t really add up, but the film’s not trying to perform the cinematic equivalent of brain surgery. “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” colors outside the lines, doesn’t take itself seriously, and manages to retain the same playful tone throughout the two hour running time. For my money, it’s one of the best times I’ve had at the movies all year.
Date Added: 11/02/2012 by matane
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