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Mr. and Mrs. SmithMr. and Mrs. Smith on DVD

If anyone is curious as to what you get when you cross two of the biggest faces in Hollywood, a red-hot director, a $100 million budget, and a mediocre-at-best screenwriter, the answer is as follows:

You get a disappointing, mediocre-at-best action-comedy.

Brad Pitt stars as Mr. Smith, an assassin whose wife has no knowledge of his true profession. Angelina Jolie stars as Mrs. Smith, an assassin whose husband has no knowledge of her true profession.

As the film opens, we find the couple in counseling, apparently there to discover the meaning behind the fizzle in their relationship. We learn they’ve had “five or six years” of a moderately happy marriage, and now they need to put the spark back in.

Naturally, both of their respective employers send them on the same mission. But they don’t know it yet. They end up attacking each other, seeing each other as a threat. But they don’t know it yet. Before long, their intelligence pieces together that their nemesis is, in fact, their significant other. Now the fun really begins. Mr. and Mrs. Smith square off in an ultimate battle to the death. Almost.

The film has a clever premise, despite the fact that it’s almost blatantly ripped off from James Cameron’s True Lies. Even the script is fairly cleverly written, despite the fact that there are some holes and it ends ever-too-abruptly. Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) adds his solid touch, which would have resulted in an above-average action romp were it not for the script problems.

The real stars here, though, are the stars. Pitt and Jolie are tops in their game for a reason; because they (almost) always do an exceptional job and pick good projects. Their screen charisma shines through from start to finish, and their onscreen chemistry rivals that of Bergman and Bogart. In such a film, you watch it less to see the greatest movie ever made, and more to see Hollywood’s most beautiful people kick the crap out of each other.

In that sense, it delivers.

You can’t deny the entertainment value of the film, but based on what went into it, you also can’t help but be underwhelmed. One of the most solidly made films of the year, Mr. and Mrs. Smith will undoubtedly go down in history as one of those forgotten hits that you pull off your rack every few years and say: “hey, this wasn’t a bad movie, let’s give it another shot.”

The DVD comes in an impressive package, but we’re fairly certain there will be a special edition in the future, so buyer beware…

The video is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (as well as a separate Pan&Scan version), and looks good if not a bit old-fashioned. We’re speculating that it was the choice of Doug Liman to add a bit of a classic look to the film, which includes a soft transfer with no foreign artifacts. Colors and detail are solid, and Angelina’s skin shines through beautifully (and what else are we looking at, really?).

Audio is available in Dolby Digital and dts 5.1 tracks, and for the most part are both fine. Dialogue is too quiet in some places, but all five speakers get a great workout during the action scenes.

Three audio commentaries are available on the DVD. The first, by director Doug Liman and screenwriter Simon Kinberg, is quite good. We learn much about the production, studio involvement, the contributions by the actors, and even why some parts of the script are less-than-stellar. The other two commentaries are by producers Lucas Foster and Akiva Goldsman, and editor Michael Tronick, production designer Jeff Mann, and visual effects supervisor Kevin Elam. The two tracks equal about one track of pure, solid information.

We also get an 8-minute fluff featurette, three deleted scenes, and some trailers.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
120 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital & dts 5.1
Starring Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Vince Vaughn
Produced by Lucas Foster, Akiva Goldsman, Eric McLeod, Arnon Milchan, Patrick Wachsberger
Written by Simon Kinberg, directed by Doug Liman


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Updated May 5, 2010