Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
I usually write these summaries long after the film has come and gone
from the theaters, and that chronology affects my perspective
significantly. If I had reviewed this when it came out, the summary
might have concluded, "It's been a very dry summer, and this is about
the only thing that might entertain you this week, especially if
you're looking for popcorn entertainment." The story is different now.
Watching the movie, then looking back on its impressive box-office performance,
one must conclude that the proper focus for the article is, "How in
the world did this average movie become such a monster hit?"
The answer is that all the planets had to align perfectly, and they did.
Everything had to work together. Summer. The Competition. The Stars. The Gossip. Take away any of those elements, and this film loses much of its appeal. Take them all away, and it goes nowhere. Make the same movie with Walker and Alba, have those two remain faithful to their previous lovers, release the film in February against a good comedy ... nothin'.
I suppose every successful movie has a touch of genius and a lot of luck, and this was no exception. It obviously had the luck, and the genius was there as well, although it was not filmmaking genius, but marketing genius.
The basic premise of the film? A deadly assassin has taken a wife just to have a cover. Unbeknownst to him, his wife is also a successful assassin who has done the exact same thing. Neither is aware of the other's true career. One day they both happen to be assigned to the same hit and ... well, you get the idea. Their cover blown, they are soon assigned to kill one another, and then they end up working together, blah blah.
The entire film is essentially a deadpan comedy. There is not one moment when their situations can be viewed as credible. They each have surreptitiously assembled massive stashes of documents, money and ammunition in their home - behind paintings, beneath the tool shed, and in the stove, for example - yet neither of them has ever accidentally stumbled upon the other's secrets in their six years of marriage. Think about that - a brilliant secret agent looking for the best place in the house to hide something never thinks of the same places as the other brilliant secret agent living in the same house. They both work for agencies that basically could not exist, let alone compete with one another. They are apparently both immortal, and virtually invulnerable to harm. They employ technology which does not exist. And so forth. I am not objecting to any of those things, which are all perfectly acceptable in a comedy. I'm simply reciting the litany to identify to you that the film is not meant to exist on any other level besides humor. It's a goof. A $110 million gamble of a goof - and it paid off.
You may construe that my making the following comments indicate my having taken the film far too seriously, and I will not dispute that. It is obvious that the filmmakers knew a thing or two about entertaining people because audiences across the world responded very positively with their pocketbooks. The filmmakers and marketers obviously needed no help from me. But for the record, here are my two main thoughts:
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