Doug Liman’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith is not a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 comedy of the same name, but both films concern couples in failing marriages. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (the Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard of their time, perhaps?) star as a husband and wife in Scenes form a Marriage-style couple’s therapy. They’re not having sex anymore and their dirty little secrets are to blame: For five or six years one has been hiding from the other that they’ve been working for rival spy organizations—the kind whose employees get to play with what-the-fuck high-tech gizmos and identification systems that understand there can only be one woman in the world with a body like Jolie’s. When their respective employers hire them to kill The O.C.’s Adam Brody, not-so-plain John and Jane go for each other’s throats and Mr. and Mrs. Smith reveals itself as a fetish film for anyone who takes People magazine as a serious source of investigative journalism (or people who wear Lance Armstrong bracelets as badges of cool). The magazine’s Most Beautiful Man and Woman of 2005 waste countless rounds of ammunition on each other, eroticize domestic violence, and before you can say “get a room,” they do! No house, wine glass, freeway, discount department store, or Tony-Scott-lit third-world country is safe from this squabble, which reveals itself as foreplay for the reincarnation of the couple’s marriage. You won’t see another film this year that coasts as long as it does on the sex appeal and posturing of its actors, and while I can’t imagine anyone besides Pitt and Jolie in these roles, it’s a shame there’s so little meat on the film’s bones. Individual moments are fierce (Jolie flies off yet another skyscraper and, during an exciting car chase, two cars poetically reveal themselves from behind another), but it’s as if Mr. and Mrs. Smith exists only for its own satisfaction. Like the condescending gurl-power Jolie is often forced to wear like a placard (“Why do I get the girl gun?” she asks at one point), the whole thing reeks of tabloid pandering.
The image is crystal clear. Blacks are deep but a little on the gooey side, and given how much of the color (or, rather, non-color) there is in the film-from the mise-en-scène to Angelina Jolie’s couture-this can prove disorienting. Sound is a wonder, though I couldn’t really hear what was going on after the helicopter that lands in Colombia early in the picture blew out my eardrums.
I can’t imagine who would be interested in any of the three commentary tracks included on this DVD edition of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They’re all pretty solipsistic. If I had to pick one to take to a desert island, the techie track is the least annoying. Doug Liman, to my surprise, proves to be more annoying than Akiva Goldsman. He’s right that most Hollywood films are awful, but he doesn’t seem to realize that Mr. and Mrs. Smith is one of them. Also, he needs to stop referring to Angelina as Angie. Rounding out the disc is a Fox Movie Channel "Making a Scene" special on the film, three deleted scenes, a soundtrack spot, a teaser, a bunch of trailers, and an Inside Look at The Sentinel, starring Michael Douglas and Eva Longoria.
Scenes from a Marriage for Generation Y.