The movie “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” was a so-so Hollywood spy flick mostly remembered because Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became a couple during its making. And we all know how that ended up. Despite the negative vibes, Amazon Prime Video has reimagined it as an eight-part series.
The outcome feels surprisingly refreshing because show creators Francesca Sloane and Donald Glover opted out of the easy route – a mindless action thriller – in favor of something wittier and more contemplative. It boasts a laid-back, slightly 1970s vibe, and Glover’s casting fits right in because I can’t think of many other actors who could rock flares as well. He’s also a skilled actor, a big improvement over the film (Brad Pitt can’t act, and that’s a point I firmly stand by).
Glover and Maya Erskine (initially intended for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was also on board as co-writer but left due to “artistic differences”) portray spies recruited by a mysterious agency. They adopt the aliases John and Jane Smith, instructed to play the roles of a married couple and provided a charming New York brownstone as their base.
They embark on perilous missions with minimal guidance, improvising when they arrive. Typically, this involves navigating through fights or shootouts in glamorous locales like ski resorts, jungles, and upscale residences. One mission leads them to surveil a wealthy executive played by Sharon Horgan at a luxury hotel in the Dolomites. The guest stars, including John Turturro, Michaela Coel, and Ron Perlman, add to the series’ quality.
Amidst the high-stakes spy escapades, the couple grapple with the routine aspects of married life: divvying up household chores, bickering about phone calls to their mothers. Initially, John finds Jane’s quirks endearing, like talking with her mouth full, and her teasing remarks. But as the series progresses, their relationship sours.
He’s laid-back, enjoying yoga, while she’s edgy and disconnected from her surroundings. The transition from platonic to romantic occurs early on. This is where the series falters a bit because Glover and Erskine lack sexual chemistry. Perhaps it’s intentional, considering they’re in an arranged marriage and simply going through the motions. Nevertheless, they remain captivating to watch, boasting impeccable comedic timing. “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” is a rare gem: a remake that surpasses the original.
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