"I don't get out of bed for less than half a million dollars." -- Mr and Mrs Smith
Mr and Mrs Smith is one of the movies that's part of the inauguration of the Summertime, when the weather is warm, the sun is shining, that there book-learnin' is forgotten, and the movies are light and fun. There, review over. Have a nice week.
No, I'm not simply trying to fill space. Shut up. *cough*
Ok, time to get seriously serious. Mr and Mrs Smith starts out rather mundane and pedestrian; our protagonist couple has been married "five or six" years now and their marriage has become a little boring. So, we see a marriage counseling session, a flashback to when they first met and fell in love, and a few scenes at their cold steel-and-glass house. In other words, these two appear entirely unspectacular (although that's not to say the audience is here bored). Then, the bomb drops, and we find out that they're really assassins who have been keeping their nightlives from each other all this time. They discover each other's secret and a consistent, low-level current of humor and copious action/violence ensues. Rinse, repeat, and you've got the rest of the movie. Yes, it's very predictable, but since the point of the movie is to have a little care-free fun, this doesn't really detract.
Ok, obvious stuff first: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. If you didn't know it before, well, gird your loins: these two are fabulous actors. During the intro, they are suitably cold to each other; it is very very easy to believe that they are in a slowly failing marriage. Then, the other overpriced foot-protection device manufactured by under-paid children in third world countries is affected by the force of gravity and impacts with the floor: their respective occupations become known to each other, the excitement with and understanding of each other kicks in, and a flow of many electrons discharges between the two. In short, they very effectively display perfectly realistic chemistry.
Action. At it's heart, this movie is a mindless action flick with a mind. There's a lot of action to be found here, and although it isn't as mind-blowing as The Matrix or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it consistently entertains and titilates with big explosions, dramatic gunfights, and complex chases. After all, these two are high-class assassins; flashy, unrealistic killing and bullet-dodging is part and parcel of the job. However you put it, the action scenes go a long way towards making the movie the fun summer popcorn flick it was meant to be.
You know that mind part I mentioned? Although the arguably allegorical plot and terrific acting are aspects of this mind-of-the-mindless, the humor is really what makes the movie a slash above the average action flick. Only rarely laugh-out-loud funny, the film maintains a very consistent level of low-key humor meant to do nothing but keep a very wide grin on your face for the two hours of mayhem and slaughter of faceless enemies. The dialogue is always witty, but never too witty, always interesting, but never too deep. Another fun thing that the movie does is to make the occasional self-conscious crack; for example, take careful note of the captive's T-shirt whilst the two Smiths interrogate him.
Mr and Mrs Smith expertly twirls with your character alignments, batting them around like a cat playing with a catnip-laced ball of yarn. Once the two Smiths find out that the other is a spy, obviously so do their respective agencies, which promptly sic each one on the other. However, the movie does not play favorites, and it sets up the situations such that you never really root for one character over the other, making especially scenes in which the two are hunting each other particularly delicious.
Like I said, rather short. Look, it's over already!
Action: 3.5/5 bulletproof windshields (The action is big, loud, over-the-top, and entirely not groundbreaking. I don't think that that's necessarily a bad thing, as it's still quite fun to watch, but in all truthfulness, the action isn't anything new).
Acting: 4.5/5 streaked tears (I've already praised Lara Croft and Tyler Durden en mass, but I've got to say something about Vince Vaugn: great one-liners this man has and deliver them well he does. Every scene with him is a joy and rapture).
Comedy: 4/5 steak knives (The mostly-black humor adds just the right touch to what would otherwise be a mere morass of explosions).
Story: 2.5/5 ski masks (Predictable and with a few plot holes gumming up the works, the plot is definitely not one of the movie's better selling points. I don't think this holds the movie back as a whole, but others may disagree).
Visuals: 3/5 weather channels (The action was well shot, the camera angles suitably nonstandard, and the explosions very big, but the cinemetography of this movie isn't really anything special).
Overall (not necessarily determined by the above categories): 3.75/5 riding crops (I definitely recommend this if you're in the mood for some very fun, very fluffy action, but this flick is no Casablanca).