Review of Mr. & Mrs. Smith

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A bored married couple (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) is surprised to learn that they are both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other.
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Movie Review: "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"

-- Rating: PG-13 (sequences of violence, intense action, sexual content, and brief strong language)
Length: 120 minutes
Release Date: June 10, 2005
Directed by: Doug Liman
Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance

"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" is hard to confine to a single genre, as the film contains numerous action scenes, several hilarious moments, and some intimate and emotional bonding between the two lead characters. The film's plot may seem a bit farfetched, but director Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity") brings it all together nicely by allowing the leads, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the freedom to run with the dialogue and let loose during full-on action sequences.

Simon Kinberg, the film's writer, first came up with the idea for a movie about a husband and wife who are trying to assassinate each other while talking with some friends who were in marriage therapy and constantly at each other's throats. The proposal for an action film that also focused on a marriage between the two leads was interesting to say the least. Kinberg had a hard time convincing 20th Century Fox bosses that a movie like this could be a box office hit.

Australian actress Nicole Kidman was the first actor to be linked with "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." Kidman was immediately impressed with the plot for the film and agreed to play Mrs. Smith. She also sent a copy of the script to Brad Pitt, who eventually took on the role of Mr. Smith. However, Kidman did not have time to fit "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" into her schedule, so she had to drop out of the project. Once Kidman was no longer available, Angelina Jolie stepped in to play the role of Mrs. Smith. Kidman's contribution to the film was still noteworthy, however. Her enthusiasm for the script was ultimately the factor that convinced Regency Enterprises to go ahead with shooting the movie.

The film opens with a light-hearted scene where John Smith (played by Pitt) and Jane Smith (played by Jolie) answer questions their marriage counselor poses. During this exchange, viewers see how the couple met in Colombia while they were each on the run from the authorities. They were working independently of each other, but happened to hit it off and have been together ever since. The problem is that neither knows the other is actually a secret assassin. Both of them have cover identities. Jane Smith believes that her husband works in construction, while John Smith thinks that his wife is a computer expert.

One day they each receive the same exact assignment: to take out a prisoner, Benjamin "The Tank" Danz (Adam Brody) while he is being transferred to another holding facility. While trying to carry out their assignments, Jane and John Smith are both shocked to discover that the other is an assassin. In all the commotion, Danz gets away and the mission fails. The assassins report back to their employers and receive a new assignment: each must find and eliminate the other.

After several non-events, they both turn up at their house and shoot up the place. However, once they realize that they cannot bear to shoot each other, John and Jane end up making love instead. After they forge this new partnership, their respective employers each send a team of assassins to take the pair out. With help from John's friend Eddie (played by Vince Vaughn), the couple comes up with a plan. They decide that they only way to get their employers off their backs is to follow through with their original assignments. The Smiths kidnap Danz from prison, only to find out that he was not the objective at all. Their employers were working together to get one of the Smiths to kill the other in a shootout. The final scene of the film is perhaps the most spectacular, as the Smiths fight off an armed team inside a department store.

"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" resulted in a real life romance between Pitt and Jolie. It was also a box office hit. Audiences enjoyed the plot, which is easy to follow and also has plenty of comedic moments. The movie's writer took a risk in combining action with other genres, but it paid off. "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" strikes a nice balance between emotional moments, funny jokes, and all-out action scenes.

Rating: 3 out of 5