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MR. AND MRS. SMITH (PG-13) (2005)

20th Century Fox

Official Site

Director: Doug Liman

Producers: Arnon Milchan, Lucas Foster, Akiva Goldsman, Eric McLeod, Patrick Waschberger

Written by: Simon Kinberg

Cast: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Goliath a.k.a. Keith David


So we are well into the summer movie season, and here we’ve got a star vehicle ripe with controversy. Before Tom and Katie or Bennifer v.2.0 became the media’s present-day attention whores, there was quite a bit of discourse over the subjects of this flick. That being John Smith’s Pitt and Jane Smith’s Jolie (would be another future Mrs. The Vile One, save for the fact that I have a very close relationship with my AB pos blood, and I’d like to keep it clean and healthy… as well as just keep it, period). Because you see, Pitt’s celebrity marriage with Jennifer Aniston ended and Jolie is… well you know, and the rest is written record. So pair them together in a high-octane, hyper-stylized, summer popcorn movie from versatile director Doug Liman, and you’ve got insta-gossip-tabloid-contro-publi-box office. Or something.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you pretty much know the drill here. The movie’s more about pairing up two big movie stars, one male, one female, than its fairly contrived plot (thanks Master Kinberg, better luck with X-Men 3, eh?), and at one point I believe it was to be Nicole Kidman as the Jane character. And it’s not so bad. Pitt and Jolie are charismatic performers, they do a pretty decent job of selling the rather mundane banter amidst the overdone action sequences, and their chemistry is believable. But at times it feels like the paper-thin plot structure and narrative really take a back seat to Brad and Angie’s posturing and mugging. The supporting cast is also pretty dull, save for Vince Vaughn’s fast-talking Eddie, very reminiscent of Trent Walker from Liman’s Swingers.

Once John and Jane reach the obvious conclusions about their spouse, we go into the usual cat and mouse routine, but I guess here it’s more of a game of cat and cat. This is a PG-13 movie and a summer popcorn flick, so it’s not going to get too heavy and or bloody. The big climax is somewhat disappointing. Too many open ends, because you see, there was this great big conspiracy about John and Jane, since they obviously have powerful superiors. And other than a cameo appearance of Goliath’s face and his voice as Jane’s boss, and just a female voice (Angela Bassett’s) for John’s, it just seems to be brushed aside in favor of more mugging.

Not that I despise mugging or anything, it’s just that there doesn’t really seem to be much going on here between the big action and the overplayed boring suburban couple with a twist premise other than that. Don’t be fooled by the hints of drama; this is really nothing more than typical, superficial, and above all commercial Hollywood fare. In the end, not a bad movie, but I would’ve much rather reviewed Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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