Film of the Week: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

It may be crowd-pleasing Hol­ly­wood fluff, but the riotously enjoy­able Mr. and Mrs. Smith is the epit­ome of what crowd-pleasing Hol­ly­wood fluff, specif­i­cally in the romantic-action com­edy genre, should ide­ally be in all apects of its being. In the film that kick­started it all, and indeed the sparkling, sexy chem­istry and dual mag­net­ism is pal­pa­ble and con­tributes much, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play a mar­ried, bored sub­ur­ban cou­ple who are totally obliv­i­ous to the fact that their spouse is an agent in a top spy agency – until, of course, the dam breaks. It’s a premise just wait­ing to be mined for laughs, whether in the ini­tial scenes of funny mar­i­tal dis­con­tent and gen­tle dis­cord or in the sharp, witty barbs mixed with bul­lets the two trade (although not for long) when their true iden­ti­ties are revealed, and the movie deliv­ers. Per­haps the appeal of Smith can best be sum­ma­rized in a high-energy scene where Pitt and Jolie are flee­ing in their neighbor’s stolen van and are, while fend­ing off pur­suers on the high­way (cour­tesy of direc­tor and action mae­stro Doug Liman), reveal­ing all the hid­den lies and deceit that have accu­mu­lated over the years in a casual sort-of-way way; for exam­ple, Jolie reveals that her “father” who was present at their wed­ding was actu­ally a paid, hired actor. Pitt’s half-exasperated, half-victorious reply, before lean­ing out of the slid­ing van door to empty his pis­tol mag­a­zine at some bad guys’ cars: “I said! I said I saw your dad on Fan­tasy Island!” Noth­ing too pro­found, and noth­ing too shabby either. I laughed my head off. A–