Stephen Farber in the New York Times paints "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" as, underneath the apparently graphic sex and constant violence, a throwback to the great age of bickering, battle-of-the-sexes style rom-coms that lived or died by the star-power of (and chemistry between) their leads. He goes on to list some of the great, edgy pairings of the golden age of Hollywood, which, along with David Thompson’s similar piece in the Guardian last week, make me think that we’re not along in pining for an onscreen couple that doesn’t come across as simultaneously checking their cell-phones for messages over each other’s shoulder, mid-snog.
Empire has a clip from the film up online, pretty much illustrative of what we’ve heard â€” it’s a freeway action sequence during which Brangelina bicker over an indiscretion in Brad’s past. The dialog is cute, though not as clever as it wants to be, delivered in a very underdone, "Ocean’s Eleven" tone. Which brings us to the problem that Erik Lundegaard discusses over at MSNBC: Brad Pitt, though, as Lundegaard puts it, "so beautiful he’s a threat to heterosexuality," is not much of a leading man. When playing the heartthrob thing, he seems to recede into the background, becoming pretty, slightly vacant set-dressing. He’s at his best all grungy and googly eyed, or grungy and incomprehensibly accented, or grungy, stoned and perma-couch-bound.