Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Many people will go to watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith because of the tabloid rumors surrounding its two stars. They're in for a treat, because the film is surprisingly enjoyable. Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Go) and screenwriter Simon Kinberg (xXx: State of the Union) take marriage and stretch it to its most extreme. Many times, spouses want to kill each other, but what if they actually tried? The plot is pure contrivance - a husband and wife are competing assassins yet have no idea about the other's secret life. Instead, John Smith (Brad Pitt, Ocean's Twelve, Troy) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie, Alexander, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) appear to lead dull lives.

The reason that Mr. & Mrs. Smith works is because Liman and Kinberg mix in healthy doses of action and humor. The action moves quickly, and the characters, seeming to realize how unrealistic their situations are, and never take themselves too seriously. At the core of the story is the relationship of John and Jane. They met when both were on a mission, and immediately fell in love with the mystery each other supplied. After five (or six) years, they fell into a huge rut. Each hid the secret of their actual profession from the other, and they would go home to silent dinners. Each day drew them further apart, and while they thought they loved each other, there was nothing they could do.

This changes once they discover their respective secrets. John and Jane spot each other while on assignment. Each is incredulous at the other. Once they realize their cover was compromised, they realized they must kill the other. What's interesting is that these are battle-tested killers who will shoot other people with no hesitation. Yet now, they pause when they have a chance to off the other. Is it because deep down they truly love each other? The story goes exactly where one would expect it to, but that's okay.

It works because of its stars, Pitt and Jolie. Here are two amazingly beautiful people with a secret - they can actually act. The script requires a surprising amount of versatility between the two. They are hiding their lives from each other, yet feelings of indifference and boredom exist. The revelation of their true occupations muster up feelings of resentment and mistrust that eventually change into something completely different. There is good chemistry between the two, and it's sometimes unclear when they're fighting if they want to kill each other or rip each other's clothes off and have hot monkey love. Liman is great at kinetic action, and there's a lot of it on display here. Even when the action heats up, there is still time for some spousal bickering/bantering. Mr. & Mrs. Smith is just a nice summer confection. It's just different enough from what's out there to be memorable.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 55 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, intense action, sexual content, and brief strong language.

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