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20th Century Fox presents
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)

Jane: If you don't like 'em, we can take 'em back.
John: Okay, I don't like 'em.
Jane : You'll get used to 'em.

- Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt

Review By: Nate Meyers   
Published: November 28, 2005

Stars: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie
Other Stars: Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Keith David, Chris Weitz, Racheal Huntley, Michelle Monaghan
Director: Doug Liman

Manufacturer: deluxe digital studios
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, intense action, sexual content, brief strong language
Run Time: 01h:59m:51s
Release Date: November 29, 2005
UPC: 024543213710
Genre: action comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B-AA B-

DVD Review

The plot of Mr. & Mrs. Smith can be summed up as follows: boy is an assassin, boy meets girl, boy learns girl is a rival assassin, girl tries to kill boy, boy and girl have great sex, boy and girl team up to take down their respective agencies. It's illogical, completely divorced from reality, and there's enough plot holes to plan a golf course around. On the other hand, it's damn good fun loaded with exciting action and a refreshing sense of humor.

Brad Pitt plays the boy, John Smith. He lives in a fabulous house with super-sexy wife Jane (Angelina Jolie). The script, by Simon Kinberg, begins with the attractive couple in a therapy discussion, working out the kinks of their marriage. Of course, we the audience know that not even Dr. Phil could solve their forthcoming problems, since it's only a matter of time until John and Jane discover that their life partner is also a life enemy. Director Doug Liman brings his independent filmmaking sensibilities to the project, chronicling the mundane aspects of the Smiths lives, ranging from debates concerning the curtains to a civilized dinner party at the neighbors' house. There's a nice sense of enjoyment in watching Pitt and Jolie because both know how to have fun with their roles, milking the dialogue for all its suggestive goodies.

Husband and wife meet in the Mexican desert, both being assigned to kill Benjamin Danz (Adam Brody) and interrupting the other's plot. Now their agencies have given them 48 hours to find the other one and eliminate the threat. Of course neither John nor Jane has any real intention of killing the other, but Pitt and Jolie convey a nice sense of chemistry as they battle one another. When the Smith home becomes a firing range, the two seem to be relishing the witty exchanges provided by the dialogue. Granted, the police would be surrounding their home and sending the SWAT team in well before they could re-consummate their marriage, but the cast and crew seem content to provide a good bit of escapism.

Like James Cameron's True Lies, this is an action comedy that more than meets its quota for action and comedic content, complete with a hilarious bit part for Vince Vaughn as John's friend, Eddie. Unlike Cameron's film, however, it goes on for too long and the script's intended surprises will only shock viewers who've never seen a movie before. As enjoyable as the domestic scenes are, Liman and editor Michael Tronick dwell on them far too long and I felt slightly anxious, waiting for the story's plot to move forward. Clocking in at 120 minutes, the film could easily be trimmed to 90 and still satisfy its audience's expectations. Yet, while the excessive length may prevent this from being one of the best action movies of the year, the chemistry between the leads is constantly engaging. Not even the excessive press reports about Pitt leaving Aniston for Jolie spoil their on screen love. The two actors use their talent and physicality to good use, allowing the audience to forget about the amorality of these heartless killers who are motivated initially by money and only reluctantly by love.

Liman's talent as a director lends the film an engaging aesthetic, with interesting compositions and a subtle documentary style. He understands the characters enough to make their relationship seem real and helms the project with enough confidence to prevent the preposterous storyline from insulting your intelligence. It's not as astute as his work on The Bourne Identity, but Mr. & Mrs. Smith does deliver the goods entertainment wise.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The image here is awfully nice with richly textured blacks, vibrant colors, strong detail, and a pleasant filmlike look.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0French, Spanishno
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno
DTSEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The DTS 5.1 mix is quite lively, with sound separation and directionality working to create an impressive dynamic range. Dialogue is always audible, the music pulsates from all directions infectiously, and the explosions are textured with great detail. I didn't detect any noticeable difference between the DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, however. French and Spanish Dolby Stereo 2.0 tracks are also available.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Fox DVD Trailer, The Sentinel, Mr. & Mrs. Smith Soundtrack, Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
1 TV Spots/Teasers
3 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:07m:52s

Extras Review: The special features kick off with a Fox DVD Trailer advertising recent releases. Also in the trailer park you'll find the film's original teaser and full trailer, along with spots for the Mr. & Mrs. Smith Soundtrack and Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. Additionally, though billed as an Inside Look, the trailer for The Sentinel is also included here. Each plays in nonanamorphic video.

As for the actual extras, things begin with a Making a Scene Featurette (08m:44s). Containing interviews with the cast and crew, this explains the process of filming the scene between John and Jane when she tries to run him over with the car. Learning how the scene evolved from an elaborate chase to its current state gives a window into the filmmaking process and a lot of information is actually covered in this short featurette.

Next up are three different commentaries. The first, by director Doug Liman and writer Scott Kinberg, goes into their various work and thoughts on the material. Both men discuss their intentions and inspirations, with a lot of information and some fascinating anecdotes. The second commentary, by producers Akiva Goldsman and Lucas Foster, gets into the logistics of filming a scene and the two men praise the actors immensely. They tend to narrate a bit more than I would like, but they manage to cover mostly new material that the first track doesn't discuss. Rounding out the commentary trio, editor Michael Tronick and production designer Jeff Mann give a highly detailed account of their work on the film and provide my favorite track of the three. Visual effects supervisor Kevin Elam also contributes here, pointing out CGI shots and explaining how each one was created. All three tracks compliment one another quite well.

Lastly, there are three deleted scenes. Played together they total eight minutes, 44 seconds. All three were wisely dropped from the final film, since they don't contribute much to the story and are partly made up of alternate takes of shots already existing in the movie. This isn't a huge collection of extras, so beware that Fox is planning a double-dip with this title, to be released sometime in 2006.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

A good ol' time at the movies, Mr. & Mrs. Smith does suffer from an elongated running time, but still dishes out the action and laughs enough to pass as fun Hollywood fare. Extras are slightly light on this release, but the image and sound transfers are topnotch.

 


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