sophisticated, snappy dialogue.
The final product is impressive: a film about something.
John and Jane Smith (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) are a couple in
We meet them in therapy as they skillfully evade the hard
questions asked by their off-screen therapist.
Then a wonderful thing happens: we laugh at their wary reactions,
not because of cheap jokes, but rather, because their problems are
recognizable to anyone who's ever felt trapped in a relationship as
it spirals out of control. The laughs are fueled by pain.
The empty space between John and Jane is the product of the secret
they keep from one another: they are both undercover assassins.
And soon the weakness in their marriage is exploited and they are
each given a challenging assignment: to assassinate the other.
This high-concept premise is deceptively simple, but in the hands
of Liman, it's multifaceted.
It's fitting that the Smiths hide the same secret; relationships
crash and burn when couples fail to communicate -- if they did,
they'd find they had similar concerns. Like a lot of American
couples, they want to kill each other.
Although it runs about 20 minutes too long, the fun of "Mr. & Mrs.
Smith" is taking this metaphor literally and watching Pitt and Jolie
fire automatic weapons while chasing each other through their house
-- they're letting their anger rip their home apart.
* ALLEN MACDONALD works in the television industry and resides in