Thursday Night Movie Club
Mr & Mrs Smith
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: June 10, 2005

Director: Doug Liman
Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie
Vince Vaughn
Adam Brody
Kerry Washington
Keith David
Chris Weitz
Rachael Huntley
Michelle Monaghan
Stephanie March
Jennifer Morrison
Theresa Barrera
Perrey Reeves
Jerry T. Adams
Melanie Tolbert
John Smith
Jane Smith
Benjamin Diaz
Martin Coleman
Suzy Coleman
Julie - Associate #1
Jade - Associate #2
Janet - Associate #3
Jessie - Associate #4
Guard - Bull
Jamie - Associate #5
Poster from Mr & Mrs Smith Poster from Mr & Mrs Smith Poster from Mr & Mrs Smith
Brad Pitt as Mr. SmithMr & Mrs Smith wants to be another War of the Roses but fails, slightly. It is an interesting movie that, to it's detriment, can't decide to go for comedy or play it straight. There are plenty of opportunities to turn this into a subtle black-comedy, but "seriousness" takes control.

The movie begins with a dysfunctional couple seeking the services of a marriage counselor. The couple both admit that they are having trouble communicating. The counselor assumes they are a "normal" couple. There is not much normal about these two.

The couple's relationship begins as a convenience. Mr. Smith is in construction. Mrs. Smith is a systems analyst. They travel a lot. They are both sent to a Latin American country due to their occupations. The government is arresting anyone travelling alone. To avoid arrest, they become a couple. There is a very sensuous love scene, but, hidden beneath the love-making, is a question: are these two really in love?

Six years later, they have married and settled into your typical, very successful suburban couple. Due to their jobs, they both travel. Very little time is left for them to be together, to grow old together. They both find this disturbing and seek out the marriage counselor for advice. The problem is, they are both as "guarded" with the counselor as they are with each other. Communication comes at a premium.

Photo of Angelina Jolie as Mrs. SmithThe kicker is: both of their normal jobs are just cover. Mr. & Mrs. Smith are assassins. They are not aware of each other's profession and thus, they begin to have trouble communicating. They have to lie to each other to protect their secret identities. Unfortunately, the movie takes the straight-forward approach rather than try for a Stanley Kubrick-type black comedy. The premise of the movie has promise. The execution/script writing doesn't live up to the challenge.

A movie is not a movie without conflict. Both of their agencies sends their top agents out to assassinate the same target, at the same location, at the same time. This is what is called competition. We, the audience, finds out later what the meaning of this "McGuffin" is. The assassination attempt fails. Surprisingly, each assassin is amazed to learn they aren't alone at the top of their profession. I had a real problem with the fact that neither Mr. or Mrs., or their orgainizations, were even aware that there was competition. This is another "red herring".

After the bungled assignment, both assassins are ordered to take out the competition. It doesn't take much investigative work for both of them to identify the competing hitman. This is designed to move the plot forward. Once their true identities are revealed, the movie gets more intersting. The conflict: do the assassins kill their spouses or do they finally realize they really are in love? This is a wonderful idea and this is where the movie is good and bad.

Photo of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as Mrs. and Mr. SmithWhat follows is a series of bungled attempts by the top assassins to liquidate each other. Do they fail because they are in love? Do they fail because they come to realize they continually underestimate their opponent? Or a combination of the two? By the resolution of the movie, we learn the answer to this question. The execution to this resolution is sorely lacking. When the couple confront each other for their final confrontation, which takes several well-done sequences, the humor, the suspense, our wondering about their relationship, is executed with both humor and seriousness. The middle sequences of the couple reacting to and learning about each other as they try to kill each other are very good.

However, once all the cards are on the table and the couple must come to grips with their relationship, the finale of the movie is played way too straight. The quirkiness that was established during the middle of the movie is lost in a series of straight-forward action sequences. The first two-thirds are intersting and good. The ending could have been even better if the action sequences were played with more of a comical tone.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie make an intersting and complex couple. They have the same problems as other married couples. But they have very good excuses for their marrital problems. The supporting cast is just that: supporting. Vince Vaughn is OK but not great. His lines and delivery bring a much needed boost of comedy when the movie falls apart. The directing/script writing are ok at best. They just didn't realize what they had. Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles or Alfred Hitchcock would have had a field day with this one. Each director would have asked for a rewrite and each one would have made an entirely diffferent movie. All three of their visions would have been better than this. Mr. & Mrs. Smith is Ok for summer action fare, but it could have been really good, not just enjoyable!