Mr. & Mrs. Smith

You eyeball Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and you laugh. It's not that Simon Kinberg's script gives them anything particularly funny to say. What brings the grin is seeing two of the most gorgeous people on the globe at the peak of their movie- perfection. They are almost reason enough to pony up for this bungled spin on Prizzi's Honor in which two married assassins who don't know each other's business — even after five years of suburban togetherness — are hired to whack each other.

Director Doug Liman knows his way around hip comedy (Swingers, Go) and hard-core action (The Bourne Identity), but combining the two throws him. The romantic banter ts with a delicious joke. John Smith (Pitt) and wife Jane (Jolie) visit a marriage counselor because — ready for this? — they no longer feel any erotic heat. They end up getting off by trying to off each other. Punch him in the face. Kick her in the midriff. What an aphrodisiac. Please don't try this at home. Pitt and Jolie make sexy sparring partners, but they can't lift this leaden material. To compensate, Liman piles on the stunts, which grow boring and repetitive. Worse, he lets the supporting cast, including Adam Brody, Kerry Washington and Chris Weitz, fade into the woodwork. Only Vince Vaughn registers hilariously as John's boss. Asked about business, he replies, "Same old, same old. People need killing." People also need more in a movie than proof that looks aren't everything.

From The Archives Issue 323: August 7, 1980