Judge Ryan Keefer was offered $4 million to sell this review to People Magazine, but he's got integrity, dammit!
Our review of Mr. And Mrs. Smith (2005), published December 19th, 2005, is also available.
"How often do you have sex?"
"Yeah, I'm lost, is this a 1 to 10 thing?"
So I have this straight; Mr. and Mrs. Smith starred Pitt and Jolie and co-starred Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers). Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston (Rumor Has It), divorced Aniston, and just had a baby with Jolie. Aniston has started seeing Vaughn, and at some point will probably announce some sort of pregnancy if they can get around to formally dating one another. With all these various degrees of separation, it's a wonder that Kevin Bacon hasn't played some sort of part in it. So after a semi-solid initial DVD release, is adding five more minutes and all-new extras worth the proverbial double dip?
Facts of the Case
While on a trip to Colombia, John meets Jane, and the two fall in love and get married very quickly. John is a contractor and Jane runs a temp agency, and they both travel frequently. Unbeknownst to each other, they live separate lives as assassins. They're in a failing marriage, and one day, both assassins are assigned to take out a target (Adam Brody, Thank You for Smoking), and their job is interrupted by one another. In the midst of finding out why they couldn't finish the job, they discover each other's cover and have to kill one another. Along the way, they find out the reason they fell in love in the first place and their romance is rekindled, so they swear revenge on those who are now after them.
Based on a screenplay by Simon Kinberg (X-Men: The Last Stand) and directed by Doug Liman (Go), Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a film that is full of action and adventure, but, when it comes to character development, seems to lack a little pizzazz. It starts out with a scene that is a little bit hackneyed (the dissatisfied couple at a marriage therapist), and then goes from there to the couple trying to kill each other (kind of like The War of the Roses).
What makes the film work (aside from the often written about chemistry between Jolie and Pitt) is how firmly the characters stick to the principal concept of being covert agents. Aside from the initial flaw in logic where they meet in Colombia and wholly accept that either a) contracting work or b) computer work needed to be done there, they go at their roles whole hog. And the surprise is that Jolie appears to be the tougher cookie of the two. When they arrive for the same mission in the desert, Jolie has been there for awhile, while Pitt gets there late. Pitt plays it a little more comically in terms of physical stuff and doesn't really overdo it, which makes it work. It's the seriousness of the actors in the roles that makes it fun to watch. While he's not in it for too long, Vaughn is hilarious in the few scenes he's in, appearing to ad lib in a good portion of each. Anything that gives him a chance to be the distasteful yet funny talent we've grown accustomed to seeing.
For this DVD, Liman decided to release an unrated version of the film that is several minutes longer. And as part of this new version of the film, Liman (or perhaps it was Fox) decided to scrap all of the extras on the first version of the DVD and put completely new ones in its place, no ported deleted scenes, commentaries, nothing. The extras (aside from Liman's commentary on Disc One) start with a dozen more deleted scenes, including an alternate ending that's cute in a James Bond meets Jerry Maguire kind of vein. Mainly these scenes are designed to give a little bit more comic depth to the relationship between Jane and John, but that comic depth (if it was included into the cut of this film) would have given it more of the tongue-in-cheek action feeling that Liman wasn't trying for. Seeing Keith David (Armageddon) and Angela Bassett (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) as John and Jane's bosses was interesting as well. The making of featurette (cutely named "Domestic Violence") focuses on the production of the film and where I first hear the style and story of the film described as "Nora Ephron meets John Woo." It shows how Liman works and what others think of it and the Brangelina relationship is discussed, purely at a professional level of course. It's OK as far as behind the scenes looks go, but it could have been better. "Doug's Film School" is a series of scene breakdowns and omissions, at one point, Brody was to do some narrating which was abandoned, and the HomeMade scene was reshot (and look for Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite!). There are a bunch of various previsualizations and animatics along with this as well.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
There didn't seem to be too many decent extras on this disc and there's not enough noticeable additional material that seemed to justify a double dip. The soundtrack is banging, the movie was entertaining, and Liman's intention to release his true cut is never a bad thing, but let's go balls to the wall if you want to ask someone to pay more money for the same movie, you know?
Well, this is probably as good as you'll get in terms of complete looks at Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and it's not really complete like other films have been. It makes me wonder if the Pitt-Jolie combo had consulted with Fox on their fertilization period to coincide with this new edition, but who knows?
Break out the popcorn and turn up the receiver to enjoy the gunfire and explosions, as the cast and crew are acquitted, with the exception of Kinberg.
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary by Director Doug Liman
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