Little Substance and No Sizzle: Our Review of ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’

Posted in What's Streaming? by - January 31, 2024
Little Substance and No Sizzle: Our Review of ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’

The new Mr. and Mrs. Smith opens on an impossibly beautiful couple sharing a bottle of wine on a rural front porch (So impossibly beautiful that the dude is played by Alexander Skarsgard). But before our lovers can enjoy a romantic evening together, their plans are thwarted by an approaching SUV. The vehicle is inconveniently full of people sent to kill them. Sick of running, our sexy duo decides to fight back, only to die in a shoutout. And just like that, our would-be heroes are gone. So, who is this show actually about?

Enter Jane and John Smith, who have been recruited to join an underground agency that feels like an evil, non-superpowered version of Marvel’s Shield. So shadowy is this organization that John (Donald Glover) and Jane (Maya Erskine) are interviewed by a computer before being sent to a gorgeous piece of real estate in Manhattan. Once they arrive at the priceless property, these two hot people who have never met are forced to pretend they’re married while also undertaking top-secret missions.

Based on the iconic 2005 movie where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie met (the couple would soon after blow up their lives to be together before divorcing years later), this new Prime series bears little resemblance to its namesake. Instead of the sizzling sexual tension of the original, Erskine and Glover seem more like two work acquaintances who get along fine but aren’t about to risk the ire of HR by making out at the Office Holiday Party. Both leads are hot and charismatic; however, their appeal as individuals doesn’t translate to making you ship them as a couple, which is a shame because half the point of a story about sexy spies is waiting for them to have sex… 

And as for the action in this action series? Those aren’t as eye-catching as they could be. instead of the film’s borderline fantastical scenes where an always outnumbered Brad and Angelina never fail to kill their enemies without evening mussing their hair, the new Jane and John go on Top Secret Missions that hinge on Prop Cardboard Boxes and a lot of sprinting. Sure, there is tension created as we wonder whether John and Jane will escape the fate of their predecessors, but not enough to make the episodes scintillating.   

While the lack of chemistry between the leads and the dull action sequences are detrimental, the biggest issue with Mr. and Mrs. Smith is its tone. The ‘05 movie was a pleasantly cheesy action-comedy that never took itself too seriously. From the screwball action sequences where the assassins/spouses use neighbours as human shields to the awkward comedy of the Smiths’ couples therapy sessions, the original knew how to have fun. By contrast, this iteration feels too earnest. It lacks the movie’s pleasantly superficial fizz but fails to achieve the gravitas of a soy drama like The Americans. What we’re left with is a chore to watch…

If you’re looking for something fun to watch on Prime, I recommend starting Jury Duty instead…




This post was written by
Sarah Sahagian is a feminist writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in such publications as The Washington Post, Refinery29, Elle Canada, Flare, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. She is also the co-founder of The ProfessionElle Society. Sarah holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from The London School of Economics. You can find her on Twitter, where she posts about parenting, politics, and The Bachelor.
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