|Sporting a hefty running time that encompasses a razor thin plot bolstered by impressive pyrotechnics and assorted death-defying stunts, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is usually uninspired despite its enthusiastic pacing and well chosen lead stars. After a promising start that details the beginning of the Smith's relationship, the movie is hurtled toward the finish with a straight shot of determination that leaves little to the imagination and little for the actors to do beyond firing a haze of bullets into a wall of enemies while calmly discussing the state of their marriage.|
And though their witty banter can be appreciated for its peppy delivery and via the natural chemistry that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie seem to share as the gun wielding Smiths, the constant barrage of explosions and detonations that accompanies their progress across the screen can cover up the confusion some viewers might have concerning the lack of real conclusion and the dearth of interesting supporting plots and characters. The film is over two hours long and there is one very single plot traveling that great cinematic distance.
It is rumored (and quite possibly more than a rumor) that two separate endings featuring villains created for a final confrontation were filmed for this movie, which both ended up on the cutting room floor. While the endings might have actually been superfluous, as their deletion from the film might actually have been a sound decision, one can only wonder how long the film might have been if a secondary story featuring a few tangible villains had been included in the story. After having gone through a reported fifty rewrites (though this also is just rumor), it doesn't seem as though the kinks in the script were completely ironed out before the camera started rolling.
It takes more than suitable casting and witty one liners to capture an audience's attention for a full two hours. The dilemma regarding the love the Smiths share for one another and their need to kill one another to ensure the other's survival is a solid, basic idea upon which to hang the film, but this idea is trotted out for far too much screen time. Over and over the audience is shown the Smiths each having trouble killing one another because love is in the air. Interesting idea that is too methodically dealt with.
Predictably stylish and cinematographically smooth, Mr. & Mrs. Smith might not have a great deal going on upstairs, but with the general affability and strange humor between Pitt and Jolie, the set designer and the cinematographer have managed to make their stars and the general visuals of the film appear to have been worth the 110 million dollar budget. With the varied locations expected of a film dealing with espionage, the textures and colors of each scene vary greatly with successful efforts by the crew to differentiate between exotic locales such as Columbia and the United States/Mexican border.
It's entirely dependent on what type of humor a viewer might find entertaining, but for fans of the increasingly erratic Vince Vaughn, who plays a fellow assassin and friend to Brad Pitt's character, it's a toss-up whether audiences will appreciate his odd cadence and behavior. Vaughn looks to be a master of the slick tangent, inserting speedy non-sequiturs into otherwise lengthy speeches on the situation at hand. Most of his dialogue can be placed in two entirely different boxes: the relevant dialogue and the sentences that just seem to pop out of nowhere for fun and glee.
Although the plot is badly created (or perhaps badly edited?) and the length could have easily been chopped down to about 110 minutes (that's with the credits, folks), perhaps the only thing that stands out as rather annoying in the film would be the musical score. It's not as if the score doesn't mesh well with the film or that it's too invasive on the senses when you're trying to focus on the movie as a whole. Rather, it's as if the producers told composer John Powell to create one cue that they would use in every single scene. The music in and of itself is nothing that would ping on the senses. In fact, it sounds finely performed and arranged. It's just that the film features this same jazzy track over and over in nearly every single scene.
One would hope that with a budget this size a film could overcome this type of possible repetition. But when repetition seems to be the name of the game in so many areas, perhaps it's not difficult to believe the monotony of the musical score when the plot and story are dealt with in such a single-minded way. Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a one trick pony that shows the audience the same trick for a rather desperate two hours. Calling the plot thin would be an understatement. And yet it still manages to confuse the viewer every scene or two. Appreciating this film for its eye candy, fetching banter, slick visuals, and large explosions should be sufficient for this very light attempt at popcorn entertainment, but be prepared to look at your watch a few times in the process.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.