Mr. and Mrs. Smith
For about the last three months, it's been impossible to look at a magazine rack and not see pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie looking pensive together or frolicking on the beach together or doing something together implying a certain, um, togetherness. This has given "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" the putrid smell of "Gigli." I was repulsed by Pitt and Jolie before they even appeared together on screen. Seeing them again made me feel like the fat guy in "Monty Python's Meaning of Life" getting that last wafer.
John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) are world-class assassins who are also married to each other, yet don't know each other's real occupation. It's hard to think of a more photogenic couple and a less advantageous characteristic for world-class assassins. One imagines marks all over the world heeding this sort of advice: "If the hottest woman you've ever seen approaches for no apparent reason, duck." Clearly, "Day of the Jackal" this film isn't.
In fact, director Doug ("The Bourne Identity") Liman doesn't seem all that interested in focusing on the whole "assassin" part of the plot (you know, the part that might actually be interesting). After five years of marriage, neither highly trained assassin has had a suspicion about the other, despite the fact that John's always wandering off to the garage where his weapons are stored. Jane's are stored in the fancy oven. Both hiding places are far more convenient to the film than to the actual business of assassination. Further details of their professional lives are as vague as possible to prevent the audience from asking too many questions, like "how will I recover these lost two hours of my life?"
The real point of the movie is that it's a metaphor for marriage. We're introduced to John and Jane at counseling of all places and it's obvious their passion has stagnated. Their lives have become mundane. The sex, if you can believe this, is boring. Their marriage isn't nearly as awkward, however, as the union of a movie about stagnant relationships with one about assassins. It's like Woody Allen and Michael Bay had a love child.
Speaking of boring, this is exactly what happens to the film as it aspires toward the required happy ending. John and Jane eventually discover their mutual lies, try to kill each other, then team up to prevent their agencies from killing them after their covers are blown. Watching this movie brings to mind the first rule of bad action films: A film's incompetence can be measured by the inability of its evil sharpshooters to hit anything. "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" misses badly.
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