Mr. and Mrs. Smith Review – Undercover and Under the Covers
The reboot of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is surprising in its ability to take the genre for reinvention and surprise. This Prime Video series, spearheaded by Donald Glover and Maya Erskine, not only revitalizes the premise of the 2005 film but injects it with a modern sensibility.
At its core, the series is an intricate dance between espionage and romance, where John and Jane Smith, portrayed by Glover and Erskine respectively, navigate the treacherous waters of marriage and secret missions. The dynamic between the two leads is electric, their chemistry a blend of competitive spirit and secretive allure, setting the stage for high-risk operations against the backdrop of their sham marriage.
What sets this iteration apart is its commitment to depth and nuance. The series boasts high-wattage cameos from Paul Dano, Michaela Coel, and Sarah Paulson, each adding layers to the narrative with their performances. Ron Perlman, in particular, delivers a memorable portrayal of a hardened criminal, showcasing the series’ ability to blend humor with tension.
The creative direction under Francesca Sloane and Glover, with contributions from writers like Stephen Glover and the Ebo sisters, takes the series beyond the confines of its genre. It subverts expectations, marrying the spectacle of espionage with the reality of the characters’ internal lives. This approach allows for moments of vulnerability, where the characters wash off the blood of their missions and seek solace in the simplicity of domestic life.
The series also cleverly parallels the intricacies of espionage with those of romantic partnership. The gradual unfolding of John and Jane’s relationship, set against their professional endeavors, mirrors how partners in the real world navigate intimacy and disclosure. This narrative choice not only enriches the character development but also provides a commentary on the nature of relationships under extreme circumstances.
Yet, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is not without its challenges. The series grapples with the common streaming dilemma of pacing, with episodes varying in length. However, it overcomes this through its unpredictable structure and the strength of its writing and direction. Including mystery-of-the-week elements alongside the overarching narrative adds a layer of engagement, inviting viewers into the evolving dynamics of the Smiths’ partnership.
Filming on location adds a tangible authenticity to the spy elements, grounding the series in a reality that contrasts sharply with the more fantastical aspects of its genre counterparts. This decision and the direction of Hiro Murai and Amy Siemetz imbue the series with a grounded atmosphere that complements its more absurd moments.
However, the series opts to fast-track the relationship dynamics between the Smiths, sometimes at the expense of exploring the depth of their romantic development. While maintaining momentum, this pacing choice occasionally leaves the viewer wishing for more moments of intimacy and connection between the leads.
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is a vibrant reimagining of the spy genre, blending action, comedy, and romance in a refreshing and engaging manner. Glover and Erskine deliver performances that are as compelling as they are nuanced, anchoring the series in an extraordinary and profoundly relatable reality.
RATING: 4.0 out of 5.0
Mr. and Mrs. Smith season 1 is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.