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Mr. & Mrs. Smith

  Mr. & Mrs. Smith
"Come ouuuuuuut paparazzi ...
we're waiting for you ..."

© 2005, 20th Century Fox
All Rights Reserved

By day, the marriage fires for John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie) Smith are slowly flickering out. At night, the two are opposing international spies, jetting across the globe killing bad guys, trying to make it home before dinner. When a routine hit goes wrong, and John and Jane's double lives are revealed, the two go on the defensive, looking to kill each other out of fear of betrayal. However, when a death warrant is put on the couple, they must set aside their differences to stay alive, reengaging their passion for each other in the process.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. You couldn't have two prettier or more exciting actors onscreen together these days. "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (IMDb listing) has the unfortunate task of trying to be the movie that sits in the same room as the actors. Who wins? Well, everybody does, if you look at the picture a certain way.

"Smith" is filmmaker Doug Liman's big follow-up to the 2002 sleeper smash "The Bourne Identity." Sadly skipping on directing the lukewarm 2004 sequel, Liman is clearly getting his Bourne-like action kicks out here. "Smith" deals in spies, lies, and firepower, deeply inhaling the combustible parallels between marriage and contract killing. The scope of Liman's set-pieces is enormous; one minute John and Jane are having a simple shoot-out in the privacy of their own home (a film highlight), the next John is picking up a rocket launcher the size of a graduation party sub and taking shots at his wife from across a desert. Liman even stages an escape from the top of the Chrysler building, rappelling Jane and her fellow agents to the next building over New York City. Liman has a terrific gift for action, and each successive picture he's made has found the filmmaker more confident with budget and tonal changes. And "Smith" is all about tone.

While fitted for combat, "Smith" enjoys its comic moments, and the script by Simon Kinberg (next year's "X-Men 3") gives plenty of opportunity for yucks. Stocked with puns and one-liners, "Smith" doesn't have the most celebrated of comedic talents in Jolie and Pitt, but the actors make due the best they can; Pitt especially, as he's never one to turn down a chance to humiliate himself. The jokes in "Smith" aren't exactly fresh, and the clunky delivery from the leads sometimes kills the playful nature of the scenes. But Liman is prepared for this occasion -- he brings in Vince Vaughn for an extended cameo to liven up the proceedings. As John's meddling, lives-with-his-mother associate, Vaughn can do no wrong, and he gives the film big laughs where Jolie and Pitt can only elicit chuckles.

Of course, who cares about jokes when you have sex appeal and great action skills? As the married twosome, Jolie and Pitt share awesome sexual and marital chemistry; a vital component to the film's success. While the true sexual heat has been taken out back and hosed down a bit by our old nemesis the PG-13 rating, the leads more than make up for the lack of explicit behavior just in their swagger and winks. When the time comes to pick up guns and blow holes through objects, Pitt and Jolie are just as suited, selling the action with ease, and making Liman's choreography look good. The two make a magnificent team.

Even though "Smith" is stuffed with twists and turns, the plot of this enterprise isn't what matters the most. Jolie and Pitt are the stars, and their shimmering presence is enough to get "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" out of any rough spots it finds.

Filmfodder Grade: B+

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