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Romantic flick?
Jun 16, 2005 04:18 PM 1649 Views
(Updated Jun 16, 2005 04:20 PM)





Cast: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Angela Bassett, Adam Brody; Doug Liman (director).

Hollywood hot shots Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt find wedded bliss by trying to bump each other off in new blockbuster Mr And Mrs Smith. The pair of assassins battle it out after being hired by a pair of rival outfits. Already notorious for what it's stars allegedly got up to when the cameras weren't rolling, this action comedy arrives with a lot of baggage.

If Jennifer Aniston has drawn up her own list of must-see movies this summer, it's unlikely Mr And Mrs Smith will be near the top. But if the former Mrs. Brad Pitt deigns not to see her ex-husband smooching with Angelina Jolie in Doug Liman's thriller, then she may well be missing the most romantic flick of the summer.

Romantic? Well, yes, for in among the explosions, flying bullets and razor-sharp cheekbones is a tender love story about a married couple rekindling their spark by shooting a lot of people.

Marriage according to Doug (The Bourne Identity) Liman's new film, is an exercise in non-communication by two lust-stricken people who rapidly descend from wanting to shag to wanting to kill each other.

Surely it's just a dress rehearsal for their own romance?

Despite complaints by a tourist about moans ''like a wounded animal'' coming from a villa they shared in Kenya last month, Angelina insists they are just good friends.

What are they like in the film?

Cat and mouse, with their stale marriage reignited when they end up in each other's crossfire.

A right to-do, eh?

Some of it was for real. Brad had to act as mediator when Angelina almost walked out after bust-ups with director Doug Liman.

Isn't she a U.N. goodwill ambassador?

Yeah, but the Brad-tempered girl wasn't diplomatic when it came to working with stunning extras. She didn't want anyone distracting her in a restaurant scene and demanded all eye-catching totty be removed.

How did Brad cope?

He bared up to it-flashing his behind in one of many sizzling bump-and-grind scenes which sparked off the ''are-they-or-aren't-they'' buzz.

Lots of action away from the bedroom?


How did she handle her weapons?

With a big bang, standing out as the sharpest shooter when she and Brad trained on a private range.

Did that bug Brad?

Not as much as a flu virus which swept the sets. Insiders say Brad and Angelina kept giving it to each other during love scenes.

Pairing Brad and Angelina for this movie is a marriage made in heaven. However, the script for Mr And Mrs Smith is in urgent need of a trip to Relate! For only a trained counsellor would have the patience to go along with the sometimes farcical plot of this action comedy.

But, then again, who cares when you have two of the most gorgeous film stars ever to drool over for two hours! It's slick, sexy fun and the screen sizzles with some of the best action scenes of the year.

The pair play outwardly smug marrieds John and Jane Smith, who live in a palatial home deep in the suburbia. But the reality is they're both top assassins who-unbeknown to each other-spend their days killing off government undesirerables.

While they get all the excitement they need at work, the fire has gone out in their marriage. She waffles on all wifey-like about the new curtains, while he cuts his toenails in front of her. We cut back to when they first meet during a revolution in Columbia, which gives the excuse to have a passionate Latino dance.

Phew! No wonder there were those rumours about Pitt and Jolie's off-screen relationship-don't sit too near the screen as you'll risk third degree burns from the sparks that fly between them.

But when they both get orders to kill each other-which they take to ludicrous enthusiasm-the credibility of this flick goes totally awry. The action scenes between the Tomb Raider star and Brad are very polished. Ironically, their lust for one another bursts back to life as they try to outsmart each other with elaborate, deadly schemes. And there's plenty of chemistry-although at times the film seems to go on longer than Elizabeth Taylor's marriage sagas.

Infact, the overall look of Mr and Mrs Smith is extremely slick with Angelina dressed in outfits as iconic as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany's. Not very Hepburn though is Angelina's PVC dominatrix outfit complete with WHIP and FISHNETS-which she dons to lure an arms dealer before swiftly breaking his neck. Job done. Which is what Brad's former wife Jennifer Aniston will want to do to Angelina when she sees this movie.

The action is full-on. Car chases, marathon shoot-outs, fight scenes and explosions galore are laced with bickering banter. John complains about their sex life in between planting bombs, while Jane moans about his lack of sensitivity as she aims a machine gun at his head. The gadgets are worthy of a Bond movie and the Smiths generate apocalyptic levels of destruction in their efforts to kill or be killed. But all the violence has a cartoon-like quality about it and the dry one-liners zing around as fast as the bullets.

Vince Vaughn provides comic relief as Eddie, an assassin-turned-mummy's boy, while Brad and Angelina turn in perfect tongue-in-cheek performances.

It's a preposterous premise made watchable by the prettiness of the leads, the priciness of the explosions and the surprisingly successful gimmick of fitting all the super-glam shootouts into the framework of an ordinary marital breakdown, then refusing to take either the violence or the relationship remotely seriously.

Such potential irritations as the film's tendency to blame the Jane for most of the Smith's difficulties-she's bossy, cold, hyperefficient and too damn successful to please her man-get washed away by the general frivolity. So we're free to savour the film's moral: if you are a homicidal maniac, don't worry and don't reform. Just communicate with your beloved and all will be well.

This lively mix of True Lies and Prizzi's Honour is certainly not the Gigli-shaped stinker some had feared. The story, loses momentum near the end, but there's sufficient slam-bang mayhem to keep even the churliest entertained.

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