Movie Review: Mr. & Mrs. Smith


Are Brangelina a real-life couple? Who knows? And really, who cares? Haven't we had our fill of much-publicized Hollywood romances lately?

>What is worth caring about is the winning job Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie do in portraying a couple in their entertaining but flawed film Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

By now, most people know the premise: Two not-so-blissfully wed secret assassins are contracted to kill each other. Mayhem and marital strife ensue.

The best moments in the action-packed romantic comedy are when the couple exhibit their considerable chemistry. Whether sitting side-by-side and haltingly discussing their marriage with a shrink, bickering about banalities or setting off sexual sparks, they're always fun to watch -- and not simply because they're gorgeous.

The key to the movie is their banter, not the explosions, car chases and gunplay that clutter things up. We get why they come alive from their marital doldrums when they discover what each really does for a living. Their repressed anger gushes forth in often hilarious ways. Pitt and Jolie have an ease with well-written lines.

But you wish for more clever dialogue and fewer action-flick cliches. It's as if the movie is trying to be all things to all audiences. And that rarely works.

Blending two disparate genres, romantic comedy and action-adventure, is tricky. And director Doug Liman doesn't always do it artfully. Liman has fashioned a high-concept movie that occasionally grows numbing during lengthy action sequences and tedious with scenes of online sleuthing and high-tech gadgetry.

But weaknesses aside, Mr.& Mrs. Smith offers a witty look at matrimony and its day-to-day tribulations. If this glam pair with their sleek, elegant house and high-risk professions find little to talk about over dinner -- save for the peas recently added to a recipe -- what hope is there for us mortals?

This date movie should generate plenty of discussion on the ride home. Jolie and Pitt project more than just body heat. They convey a multi-faceted attraction, toss off clever repartee and dazzle audiences with their seemingly natural connection. And that's worth watching.

***




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