Therapy with Mr. and Mrs. Pitt
What’s one way to get males to watch a paired Hollywood couple make ends meet in their steamless relationship?
Take Tomb Raider and match her with Achilles, add a smidge of domestic violence, and mix an hour of gratuitous gunplay and you get Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
What you have seen from the trailers is what you can expect. John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie) Smith are a suburban couple who feel detached from each other despite the comfortable life that they live, complete with a white picket fence. Of course, the tension (or lack thereof) is probably a result of the duo not knowing that they are, secretly, assassins for independent organizations outside the U.S. government. Once they find out, it becomes a matter of Spy versus Spy and an even bigger matter of miscommunication as they each believe that the other has tried to off them from the first S.N.A.F.U. Much explosions, punches, kicks, and bullets ensue.
Half True Lies and half War of the Roses, Mr. and Mrs. Smith has an intriguing yet cardboard-cutout environment that acts more as a playground of destruction than as a setting for marital counseling. It is a visually vibrant film that is well balanced by its obviously dark humor: the trailers cannot prepare you for thinking, halfway, that perhaps this will end with one of the Smiths dead as the finale of a marriage gone down the toilet. The banter between the couple is very typical of arguing couples and achieves its comedic tone by being juxtaposed by the mayhem around them as they continue to bicker. Predictably, violence gives way to sexual tension that has to find its outlet in our violent lovebirds. But the movie has enough chuckles and action to keep one interested as to how all this plays out.
It isn’t without its moral dilemmas. The film suggests that one reason why couples fail is due to what they don’t say as opposed to what they do. It also makes the dual claim that opposites attract (last half of the film) while the original sham marriage was based on the claim that birds of a feather flock together. The end of the movie seems to have been placed as a matter of convenience and not as a matter of plot: it could have conceivably been placed anywhere within the last 40 minutes of the film. It leaves open the nature of the Smith’s newfound passions and fails to answer whether or not it will last, though this all seems beyond the point.
The point is that marriage counseling has never been more over-the-top and gratuitously violent. This is one therapy session that you may want to check out.