Given that their collective adeptness at holding down a marriage in real life would barely fill a thimble, it seems somewhat appropriate that Mr. & Mrs. Smith opens and closes with shots of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sitting in a marriage counselor's office uncomfortably answering questions about what went wrong with their marital contentment and how often they have sex. While not a contrived case of art imitating life, it's definitely coincidence enough to make the casual tabloid watcher chuckle with knowing glee.

Flashback to five or six years earlier in Bogata, Colombia, where Jane (Angelina Jolie) and John (Brad Pitt) Smith first meet and we learn of their respective avocations ... professional assassins.

Back to the present, where we see the Smith's wallowing in the soulless affluence of fancy sports cars and luxurious amenities (the hit-man business must be pretty good). But it becomes readily apparent that the high points of their passionless relationship are the half-interested discussions about the choice of living room curtains and the introduction of peas into the evening dinner. Clearly, the two live for their careers and are most comfortable at work, but the twist here is that neither knows that the other is a professional hit-man. That is until they are both booked on the same hit and learn that in order to keep their lucrative professions, they must take each other out.

During the film's opening act, director Doug Liman plays things out humorously-humdrum and knowingly-mocking as he drags us through the parody of the perfect upper-class American couple, emphasizing the metaphor that "sometimes we could just kill our spouse" with tongue-in-cheek wryness and screwball dialogue. But of course we know from the trailers that he must be just setting us up for the action to come.

Once the cat's let out of the bag and the spouses become dangerous enemies, the film's pace takes off at bullet-like speed. But unfortunately, it has an opposite reaction on the cleverness of Simon Kinberg's script. It abruptly transforms from a witty, winking, game-like comedy into a run-of-the-mill action flick complete with machine guns that can't hit their targets and bombs that destroy everything except the people for whom they were intended. But all's not a total loss. After all, Jolie is no slouch when it comes to the ability to kick some ass.

The film works best when Jolie and Pitt are on screen together. Whether they're moving around or just looking at each other, they're like an on-screen chemistry experiment that explodes with captivating enthusiasm. Their dangerous intimacy harkens back to Basinger and Rourke's erotic magnetism in 9 1/2 Weeks. Their action scenes are no less fantastic than anything Bruce Willis and Lucy Liu might throw down.

The romantic comedy parts of Mr. & Mrs. Smith work better than the action/thriller parts. But nonetheless, it's a fun ride at the movies that's sure to please everyone. There are plenty of guns, explosions and thrilling car chases for the Johns and loads of spicy, hot romance for the Janes. Just sit back, suspend belief, and eat your popcorn.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen 2.35:1; Full Screen 2.35:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; deleted scenes; director's commentary; cast and crew interview; cast and crew information.

* Commentary:
o With director Doug Liman and screenwriter Simon Kinsberg
o Production designer Jeff Mann, editor Michael Tronick, and visual effects supervisor Kevin Elam
o Producers Lucas Foster and Akiva Goldsman
* Featurettes: Short "Making a Scene" featurette
* Trailers: Original theatrical trailer for Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Sentinel and a preview of The Family Guy and the Mr. and Mrs. Smith Soundtrack.
* Deleted Scenes: Three scenes that didn't make the final cut.

Number of discs: - 2 - Keepcase packaging.