Reviews

Mr And Mrs Smith

3

So, at last. There they are together. Cute as a cat sneeze. Cooing, canoodling, squishing up close for a foxy foxtrot. Yes, the chemistry crackles. Yes, the blaring natural heat between Pitt and Jolie is sure to fluff a bit more life into the now-flaccid did they/didn't they chatter...

But apart from one inspired, post-shootout anger-bang, the sex is strictly parent-friendly. Mr And Mrs Smith is a carefully tasteful, softcore fantasy: two of the movie world's most beautiful people teased into beautiful movie clothes, living in a beautiful movie home and saying beautiful movie things like, ""Happy endings are just stories that haven't finished yet"." It should feel vacant, voyeuristic and achingly vain. But it works. For a while...

It works because Doug Liman takes the perky, low-fat script and brews up a deft blend of Swingers' sass and Bourne Identity action bravado. For the first hour or so, it's funny and feisty, gleefully skewering the petty power-plays of couple politics: air-clearing shout-downs, therapeutic make-ups, niggly needlings "("Do you like these curtains? Be honest!"" ""No!"" ""You'll get used to 'em...""). But then, once the Smiths crack out the AKs, the banter dries up and it's heavy on the samey slo-mo, near-miss explosions and anonymous henchman-zapping.

Despite limited screen-time, Vince Vaughn does his usual trick of sneaking off with the entire film as Pitt's snappy-chappy confidante (""Ah, some people just need killin'"). Jolie's support is more cosmetic: a coterie of tech-savvy spunky flunkies tweaking and tapping from a high-rise tech-den.

Pitt mixes it up - rugged and twinkly for the ladies, with the odd nod of horseplay for the lads. Jolie is as fiery and feline as ever: knowing, naughty, nasty... the ultimate desperado housewife. Gentlemen of a nervous disposition should be aware that at one point she appears in a PVC corset with a little matching micro-skirt thing.

Liman's directing class is clear in an early, comically competitive scene at a fairground shooting gallery. He even finds time to lay on a bit of flair, with plunging aerial shots and deep, showy zooms. And the joint penny-drop moment is a beauty, cranking gradually from squinty side-glances to overly aggressive bread-slicing to clattering car-chase.

Amid the gun-toting and garter-twanging, Liman slips in a stinger for anyone involved in a coasting relationship: the Smiths only start to emotionally re-connect when all the sterile junk they've accumulated over the years is torn down in a cathartic showpiece shoot-out. As Liman flags elsewhere with a character in a soap-bar logo T-shirt, it's very Fight Club.

Verdict:

Glam and glossy for an hour, before the final third defaults to a fun but faceless shoot-'em-up. Great-looking cast though...

Film Details