Mr. & Mrs. Smith explodes with flaming chemistry but assassinated its own script. “Brangelina”. Without Liman’s standard action-comedy, we wouldn’t have had the power couple that dominated the tabloids. Several children wouldn’t have been adopted and brought up in a completely different, yet financially stable, environment. Jolie wouldn’t have been the charitable humanitarian she is now. And Shiloh’s first baby photograph wouldn’t have amassed over ten million dollars worldwide. Wow! Suffice to say, the two most beautiful humans in Hollywood have a substantial amount of gratitude to show Liman for his efforts in pairing them. If only his energetic vibrancy was enough to power the lacklustre screenplay, the balance of action and comedy could’ve been a landmark within the sub-genre. A bored upper middle class married couple are astonished to learn that they work for differing assassination organisations, soon to be assigned to kill each other.
It’s your standard marriage. Winning a teddy bear at a carnival, falling in love whilst buying the most expensive mansion on the street, succumbing to the same mundane daily routine, destroying the house with an almighty shootout followed by a gas explosion, participating in the feistiest erotic love-making scene ever and naturally ending in marriage counselling. A cruel irony for “Brangelina”, maybe they should’ve watched the film they made together? Cynicism aside, what truly elevates the memorability of this feature is the onscreen (and offscreen, bow chicka wow wow…) chemistry of its leading stars. Jolie and Pitt are exceptionally effortless with their comedic timing, dramatic endeavours and high-octane action. The lightning-fast wit that they inject into Kinberg’s less than impressive script is nothing short of, well, impressive. They make the film. They are the film. And they certainly have solid taste in curtains.
Liman maintains a light tone throughout, never dabbling into the cracks of the marriage which is vital for retaining a fun buoyancy. This isn’t an analysis of marital breakdown. It’s just a tongue in cheek slice of entertainment.
Having said that, despite the tantalising chemistry of its leads, you never quite feel that they are truly in love. Unfortunately, Kinberg’s script is so vacuous in emotional conviction, that both Smiths resemble roommates than a married couple. Understandably the marriage is stale as they conform to their upper middle-class lifestyle, but even when they fight and makeup, there’s no real connection. I yearn to see Jolie and Pitt lust over each other. The momentum essentially grinds to a halt after their house explodes, with Kinberg’s script focussing on a central plot point involving “The Tank” and an onslaught of heavily armed operatives raiding a department store. Attention for the splendid couple instantly dissipated with a third act that seemingly refused to end, ultimately losing the acute fun that preceded the underwhelming conclusion. The whole “keeping up appearances” act was tossed out of the smashed window, and that was the sole element that made the film incredibly fun.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith doesn’t conclude with a divorce, as it is sensible light entertainment for the vast majority of its runtime, yet the concluding act and poor screenplay prevent the marriage from flourishing fully. Angelina Jolie man! I would abandon my homosexuality for her…