Tue, 14 Jun 2005

Mr and Mrs Brainless Fun

OK, so I'm never going to be able to compete with the master reviewers in our midst, but it's not often that I get to see a movie: (a) relatively soon after its release and (b) that I havent heard at least ten reviews of from other people. So it's relatively rare I'll go into a movie with only my own preconceived ideas of what to expect. Last night I had the pleasure of this experience with Mr. and Mrs. Smith, of which my own preconceived ideas were as follows:

  • Action, action, ACTION!!!
  • Pointless side-characters providing comic relief
  • Gratuitous sex scenes and general shirtlessness
  • Contrived, nonsensical plotline
  • Predictable "twist" near the end
  • Happy couple living happily ever after

So, let's see how I did...

Action, action, ACTION!!!

Well, this is a no-brainer really. Plenty of explosions. Plenty of chases. A falling elevator. Fistfights. Badguys who rival the Imperial Stormtroopers in accuracy (hey, at least the Stormtroopers were firing a shot at a time - these guys couldnt hit anything with automatic weapons). Goodguys who can hit a pea-sized target around a corner while running backwards blindfolded, except when shooting at each other. Need anything more from an action movie? I thought not.

Pointless side-characters providing comic relief

Excellent side-characters played by Vince Vaughn and Seth Cohen, I mean, uh, Adam Brody. Some genuinely funny moments. Thankfully few really-not-funny moments. Adam Brody's character seems to have been transplanted directly from the OC and the humour about him is the same.

And while it gets old, the "domestic issues during a life-or-death situation" shtick between John and Jane Smith actually struck me as genuinely funny. Not laugh-softdrink-through-your-nose funny, but quietly-amused-giggle funny. Which, after all, is probably the most you can expect from an action film.

Gratuitous sex scenes and general shirtlessness

Boy, was I wrong on this one. Only one scene which could possibly be called a "sex scene" and it was pretty tame. Not nearly enough shirtlessness for either the guys or the girls. But in the end, the PG-13-ness of it all helped keep the focus on the important things. Like action. And action.

Contrived, nonsensical plotline

There in spades. Please refain from asking "why would they...?" or "wouldnt it have been easier to...?" or "do you really expect me to believe...?". Just listen and nod at the comic relief's backhanded attempts at explanation. Suspend your disbelief by repeating to yourself "of course they would...". If the friend you are seeing it with seems to be having trouble with this, wave your hand in front of their face Obi-Wan Kenobi style and whisper "you dont need to hear an explanation". This movie is for the watching, not for the thinking.

Predictable "twist" near the end

Ho-hum. Can you even call it a "twist"? Sure, it was a surprise for the characters, and there wasnt a voiceover at the start of the film explaining it all to you. But damn it, it was all signposted along the way. In neon. Vegas neon.

In fact, let me save you the suspense: the plotline will not surprise you. At all. This is a good thing - less time thinking about plotlines, more time enjoying the action, action, ACTION!!!

Happy couple living happily ever after

Hard to say really. I found the end of this movie deeply unsatisfying. Without wanting to spoil things too much, let me say: a whole lot of people get killed, but nothing really gets resolved. Refer to my point above about not asking questions...

Anything else?

Although Sazz and I are probably the only ones who will notice, the film also features Stephanie March (a.k.a. Assistant District Attourney Alexandra Cabot) in a name role.

Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. Would I see i again? Probably not if I had to pay cinema prices, but I could be convinced to rent it on DVD. The important thing is that while it was pretty much what I expected, it was better than I expected at the things I expected it to be. Slick, well-filmed action and suspense. Distinct lack of gratuitousness. Genuinely funny moments. I can recommend Mr. and Mrs. Smith for some fun cinema-going action, provided you follow the three rules of over-hyped action films:

  1. Dont think or ask questions
  2. Dont think or ask questions
  3. Have fun, damn it!