Mr & Mrs Smith

cast: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, and Keith David

director: Doug Liman

115 minutes (15) 2005 widescreen ratio 2.35:1
20th Century Fox DVD Region 2 retail
[released 25 November]

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon

John and Jane Smith feel all the excitement has ebbed out of their marriage. Little do they know that they’re both secretly in the same line of business; they’re rival assassins. When they cross paths trying to carry out the same job, their respective employers give them 48 hours to clean up the situation – by killing their partner. At first, they’re both more than willing to eliminate their treacherous spouse, but the battle soon reawakens their feelings for one another. Perhaps if they stick together, they can both get out of this alive…

Simon Kinberg’s script contains every vital ingredient for a summer blockbuster: smart dialogue, elaborate action, and a wicked dissection of American suburban life.

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Add Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and hip action director Doug Liman, and what could possibly go wrong? Very little, it seems. Mr & Mrs Smith delivers everything that’s required of it, with spectacular action and likeable characters. Even the soundtrack is effortlessly cool.

All right, so the reason why the two assassins ended up on the same job is preposterously silly (there are far easier ways to achieve what the villains wanted, and their plan was almost certain to backfire), but frankly, it’s still smarter than many summer blockbusters. Pitt and Jolie dominate a story with (strangely) no visible bad guys and few other memorable characters; smooth, sophisticated Jolie often has the upper hand, making Pitt her comic foil, a role he settles into with relish. Vince Vaughn, as John’s best buddy, has the only other role of any substance, and provides solid support.

This is a film that delivers exactly what it promises – enjoyable, witty, light-hearted entertainment with no pretensions towards high art. And what’s wrong with that?