Angelina Jolie, comedy, guns, and Angelina Jolie. What more could you ask for?
(As usual, no spoilers, except the text in white)
A lot of the credit for the movie’s success goes to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Both leads are charismatic and attractive, so they’d be entertaining to watch even if they did nothing. The bonus in this movie is that the two are clearly having a good time, especially Pitt. The scene in which he’s kicking Jolie’s character behind the couch is gut bustingly funny. The movie is full of subtle facial expressions, clever physical acting, and knowing smiles, all of which made me smile throughout.
The reason the actors are having so much fun is because of the material they’re playing with. The overall plot is somewhat predictable (me and my friend John joked that this movie was True Lies times two, but decided instead that True Lies is this movie minus Angelina Jolie), but the script is clever. In comics, people say that bad inking can make excellent penciling look mediocre, but excellent inking can make bad penciling look good. In this movie, excellent acting and directing make a decent script seem great.
However, what really made this movie work for me was the action. To use (I think) Warren Ellis’s word, this movie delivers with the explodo. Both actors are good action stars in their own right, and seeing them blow stuff up together is very entertaining. As in the best action movies, the action scenes are not a break from the story, but rather they push the story forward. Also, while the action scenes here are part of the comedy, the movie never descends into the ridiculous. The movie walks the fine line between exciting and implausible, and a lot of the violence is almost cartoony. Brad Pitt beats a guy over the head with a golf club, and while the audience winces, we’re laughing too. The main entertainment in this movie came from the creative mayhem the main characters engage in. Sure they get up and walk around after hits that should incapacitate them, but the audience is having too much fun to get upset about the unreality.
If you liked the trailer, then go see this movie. I had a great time despite the row behind us being full of loud, drunken sixteen year old assholes, and that’s as ringing an endorsement as I’ve ever given. Mr. & Mrs. Smith is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a while, and I recommend it without reservation.
Disclaimer: If you go to the movie and don’t like it as much as I did, then something is clearly wrong with you.