Movie-Hype00602 – MR. AND MRS. SMITH
The plan—and I did have one-was to start off this review by talking about whether Brad Pitt had an affair with Angelina Jolie while making the film. After all, that seems to have really become the focus, no?
But events—those most insidious of creatures—had other plans, and somehow I found myself watching the movie with a 19 year old violin major, which was kind of more interesting than the movie.
What had happened was that a good friend of Marcellus’s announced he was moving, which made Marcellus not in the mood to see the movie. It was cool. I hung out with everyone for awhile, and the girl from NAPOLEON DYNAMITE was our server. I tried unsuccessfully all night to tell her, “I caught you a delicious bass!” but I never could.
Eventually I went to the theatre myself, something I’ve done many times previously, so it was no big deal. However, MR. AND MRS. SMITH seemed like the kind of movie you’d want to see with someone else.
You remember the woman who wrote last week or so, trashing me for reviewing “box office crap” and not doing more independent films? I found her arguments so ludicrous that I posted her email and my response. Well, anyway, I thought it might be cool to get her take on a “box office crap” movie like SMITH. So, I tracked down her sister-in-law and asked Izzy if this girl (Doria) wanted to go to the movie. Sure, I was told, but I’d have to drive. I had time, so no problem.
I show up where they both are and I knew I was in trouble. From the email I got, and from Izzy’s description, I assumed this was some 35-year old ex-hippie, still protesting everything and claiming to live idealistically, but not really. What I found was…a 19 year old. Suddenly it all made sense. And, I was really mad at Izzy. “How could you not tell me about this?” I yelled at her. “You didn’t know?” She innocently replied. Women. Can’t trust a single one of you. What’s the deal with that?
So, Doria looks like, well, trouble. I felt like Han Solo the moment I saw her. “I have a bad feeling about this.” Said I. But I figured if it was a total disaster at least I’d get a good story out of it. Plus, I’d already driven up there, so why not? Let’s go, I told her. What’s the rush? She asked. Let me have a beer first. Oh yes, this was going to go well.
[Men, here’s a tip: always be slightly suspicious of a girl who blithely jumps in the car of a strange man without any reservations. But I digress.]
On the way to the theatre Doria kept rolling down her window at traffic lights and tried to get the other cars to play Rock-Paper-Scissors with her. She seemed disappointed they would not. “Try to think it through.” I said. “They looked over and see you, in the car with me. There is no way in Hell they are going to play Rock-Paper-Scissors with you. They’re scared I’ll get out of the car.” I don’t think this ever occurred to her.
Doria also turned the radio buttons without so much as a by-your-leave from me. I thought everyone knew the rules, that you don’t touch the radio or heat controls without the driver’s permission. Apparently Doria didn’t know that.
I wanted to be clear that there was no funny stuff (and also, because all I had was enough for one ticket), so spelled out at the beginning that this was not a date. Doria seemed disappointed that I wasn’t paying, and compared me (unfavorably) to her perfect man, Laurie from LITTLE WOMEN. I have not seen the movie, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like the guy. Of course, she also explained matter-of-factly that previous boyfriends included a racist (“there were no black people to hate, so I knew he was just angry”), a Communist (“I think he should be commended for at least trying to make a positive change”), and my all-time favorite, a Satanist, although Doria hastened to point out that while he was a loser, he was also a good guy with a great personality.
(And if that doesn’t explain everything you need to know about women, right there, I don’t know what does.)
So, we got to the movie and I explained how I like to rate the previews too. But before the previews there were like 37 commercials (it really is getting out of hand). After five of them Doria started rating the commercials before they really started (“I give this commercial a thumbs down.”) It was the first funny thing she’d said, and it was kind of sweet. Very confusing. Then she made fun of Good Charlotte. (“How can anyone not like Good Charlotte?” she asked with such wide-eyes I almost took her seriously. “It’s the law. Everyone must love them!”)
It was quite unexpected that she was actually funny when she forgot to be rebellious chick and all that. However, before I could dwell on this too much, the movie started.
Okay, back to Brad and Angelina. I’m not consistent in this, since I saw CINDERELLA MAN last week, and Russell Crowe is a marriage-wrecking loser, but to me, it actually was important. And I wasn’t the only one. At my last visit, my chiropractor asked me if I thought the two had an affair. This is what people care about, me included. My two cents: they didn’t. The hype of the whole thing is (I suspect) part tabloid fodder and celebrity worship that dominates the media, and probably quite a bit of cynical marketing strategy from the studios.
HYPERION’S RATING SYSTEM
Suspension of Disbelief Scale (out of 10): 8. You really have to let logic go and just enjoy this.
Genre Grade: B+. The prototype for this kind of film would have to be TRUE LIES, with Arnold and Jamie Lee Curtis back in ’94. This may not have quite as good a story, but the chemistry is better, and it’s about as good.
Rewatchability: A- I could easily watch this several more times, and might even enjoy it more anticipating the funny lines.
Violence: Pretty high. They are both assassins, right? One hopes they only kill “bad” people, but they don’t really explain. Still, it’s not really the focus.
Sex/Nudity: There is a sex scene, but precious little. I heard they cut some to not offend Jennifer Aniston supporters. This makes Hyperion very angry.
Chemistry: Out of the park
Bad Guys: not the point
Moral Consistency: never heard of it
Pantheon Percentile: 75. This is definitely not one of the greatest movies ever made, but the appealing cast and breezy pacing make it rewatchable and fun.
Add to that the fact that Jennifer Aniston seemed to take the blame, saying it was her internal problems and not outside influence. Then—and you can take this for what it’s worth—Jolie herself said she wouldn’t date a married man because her father had many affairs, which still bothered her. (Her father is John Voigt, and they are estranged to this day). Now, I know Angelina is a weird girl, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have morals. I mean, she does work for the UN on behalf of refugees.
Okay. The preceding paragraph may seem stupid and beneath me, but it’s not for the following reason: this kind of movie rises or falls completely (utterly and totally) on the chemistry of the two leads. You KNOW where the plot is going. You KNOW how it all will end. What’s left is how the two come together.
Think about it: two assassins living unknown to each other as husband and wife? Eventually they are going to figure it out, right? What happens then? The chemistry just HAS to be there.
Well, this observer (and Doria, for that matter) both thought they got along fabulously. If ever there were going to be two assassins married to each other, these two were it. They had a great vibe flowing back and forth with each other, and each played off the other beautifully.
The rest of the movie was pretty funny, maybe a touch slow at times, but always entertaining in a forgettable sort of way. This would be a fantastic date movie.
Plenty of good looking people, but your date can’t have any of them, so they’re left with you. Plus, the two of you could argue about feminism in the workplace, etc. (Angelina’s character is supposedly a CEO of some tech-firm, but still manages to cook dinner every night. Well, sort of, but it’s enough to start a lively argument.)
Doria, for her part, surprised me (and maybe even herself) by generally liking the movie. She thought some of the lines were lame (I agreed) and thought the sex scene was unnecessary. On this, we disagreed. You have two people considered to be the best looking on the planet. How can they not have a love scene. (Preceding the love scene is a fight scene, which Doria thought should serve as a metaphor for the love scene. You know me: the more the merrier!)
The movie ended on a high note and we all filed out. The night was not to end there, but since the movie did, I guess I’ll stop sharing.