I wanted to see this film after reading that the screenwriter, Simon Kinberg, found his inspiration for the story in an explanation of the process of marriage therapy. This intrigued me, as I thought it was primarily an action film, and wanted to see how this was accomplished. According to Mr. Kinberg, marriage therapy guides couples through a process to initiate, interact, communicate, compromise, adapt, and ultimately fall in love again. He placed John and Jane Smith (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) in a marriage complicated by their unusual occupations. Both are accomplished assassins, and they have both managed to keep their professional lives secret from one another, even though they have been married five (or six) years.
We first meet John and Jane in the therapist’s office (initiate). Since they are willing to see a therapist about their relationship, I gave them a better than average chance of restoring life to their dull marriage.
We are shown how John and Jane met and then married without allowing each other to know who they truly are. Sound familiar? Other than their unusual occupations, they could be any suburban couple.
Separately, they are each given the job of tracking and assassinating the same person. They spot each other as a competitor on the job, and then have to track and eliminate the other assassin, as neither can leave a witness to a hit. They soon discover that the other killer is their spouse. John and Jane stop lying to each other, and start telling each other who they really are (interact, communicate). As they are engaged in the chase, they have to pay attention to each other for the first time in years, and fall in love again.
Now they have to figure out a way to deal with their bosses who are expecting them to take each other down. So they compromise and adapt to each other’s styles as they strategize and carry out a plan together. They come to understand and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses they have that complement each other, and that make life together stronger and more successful than either would have alone.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith really works. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are great together, apparently off screen as well. Adam Brody (The O.C.) plays a small role as the man that both assassins are asked to target, and who has the answer to their dilemma. Casting chatty Adam in this role was a good choice. Watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith go about setting traps for each other reminded me of the destructive games that couples play, especially when they are considering divorce. It's not just an action film, but also has elements of comedy and romance to enjoy. It is rated PG-13. Mr. Kinberg wrote a great screenplay, resulting in an entertaining film, one that I will probably watch again sometime on DVD.