The eponymous Smiths are a couple who have been married for five
) years. After meeting each other while vacationing in Colombia, the two married and settled down to a quiet, white-collar life in Suburbia, but now they find the magic is fading and wonder if their marriage is going to last.
In reality, both of them are being smothered by the weight of their double lives — as secret agents and occasional killers for hire.
One day, John Smith (Brad Pitt
) is ordered to take out a hit on a man called "The Tank." But his wife Jane (Angelina Jolie
), who works for a rival agency, is also sent to take down "The Tank." Upon discovering each other's identities, the Smiths are told by their employers to take each other out, leading to results that range from your standard Slap-Slap-Kiss
all the way up to no-holds-barred Domestic Abuse
. Things are not as they seem, though. When John and Jane both come under attack by their former employers, they realise that if they are going to live (and keep their marriage intact), they're going to have to work together both as assassins and
as a couple.
Not to be confused with
the 1941 screwball comedy directed by Alfred Hitchcock
(where a couple who have been married three years find out that they aren't really married) or the 1996 TV series (where two spies are forced to work together under the codenames Mr. and Mrs. Smith).
This film contains tropes such as:
- Air-Vent Passageway: Played with; The building where Jane works has security lasers everywhere to keep intruders out — including the vents. Justified as Jane is an assassin and has used such tactics in the past.
- Amazon Brigade: Jane's agency seems only to hire women, although their boss and at least some of their operatives (not seen) are male.
- Anti-Hero: Although they are sympathetic and romantic characters, Jane and John are still professional murderers, and it is never firmly established if either of the two organizations they work for are actually on the side of right. The most the film provides on the subject is a comment from Jane to her target about "selling big guns to bad people" before she kills him, but there's nothing to indicate whether or not the specific job is typical of her hits. There is also the matter of a line of dialogue (cut from some versions of the film) in which, while discussing how many people they've killed, John asks if Jane's claimed number of 312 includes innocent bystanders.
- Armor Is Useless: When Jane, unaware, shoots John, he's wearing a vest.
- In the climactic scene, our anti-heroes are shown to be wearing bulletproof vests, but the impacts still clearly hurt.
- Aside Glance: Played with — during their tango Jane suddenly drops down out of sight as if she's decided to orally pleasure her husband. John looks at the camera and winks suggestively. The Reveal Shot shows he's winked at an elderly couple, who are gaping because Jane is removing a pistol from John's ankle holster.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Out of all the various things they've done to each other in the course of their cover... all the lies, fakery, and trying to kill each other... the thing that seems to upset John the most is that Jane hired actors to play her parents for events like their wedding and holidays.
"I can't believe I brought my real parents to our wedding!"
- And the reverse, Jane seems overtly upset at John for being married once before (briefly, in Vegas, then annulled)
Jane: What's her name and social security number?
John: No, you're not going to kill her.
- Audible Sharpness: Cutting bread should not be that loud.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Quite possibly the most non-standard use of this trope, as the Smiths both have this moment as they're pointing guns at each other.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Final Scene.
- Basement-Dweller: Eddie, having been divorced, is living with his mother despite his arsenal of weaponry. He insists this is a valid lifestyle choice.
- Battle Couple: The Smiths become this near the end of the movie.
- Black Boss Lady: She doesn't appear onscreen, but Mr. Smith's boss is voiced by Angela Bassett.
- Boyfriend Bluff: The Meet Cute.
- Brick Joke: The "Scale of 1-10, how is the sex?" question.
- Bullet Dodge: In the final shootout, John and Jane twice duck an anti-tank missile being fired at them.
- Chained to a Bed
- Contract on the Hitman: When both the agencies that the Smiths worked for found out who their spouse worked for, they compromised and decided to put them on a collision course to take each other out.
- Cover-Blowing Superpower — Jane confirms John's suspicions that she's an assassin by catching an open wine bottle with far better reflexes and coordination than an average house-wife.
- Cut the Juice: Subverted — John tells Jane to cut the power while infiltrating the prison, then frantically shouts at her to turn the lights back on because he's found himself in a Darkened Building Shootout. Unfortunately it takes a lot longer to get the power back up again.
- Dead Sparks: The Smiths' problem at the start of the film.
- Destructo-Nookie: If you've seen the movie, you know the scene.
- Dish Dash: When Jane catches the wine bottle, it signals the Internal Reveal.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: While interrogating their target, the couple argue as if they're disagreeing on how to raise a child. At one point, John even says, "Can we not argue in front of the target? It sends mixed signals."
- Dominatrix: Jane dresses as one to get close to a target in one scene.
- Double Entendre: Because the violent nature of the couple's interactions are a metaphor for their rocky relationship, it's only natural that we get a few of these, including:
Mr. Smith: I don't exactly keep count, but I would say...high fifties, low sixties. Been around the block, but you know, the important thing is-
Mrs. Smith: Three hundred and twelve.
Mr. Smith: Three hundred and twelve? How?
Mrs. Smith: Some were two at a time.
- Certain cuts of the film have John's line, "Are you counting innocent bystanders?" (followed by Jane smacking the mesh barrier between them), partly because people thought they really were talking about sexual partners.
- Drowning My Sorrows: John and Jane after the Internal Reveal.
- Dueling-Stars Movie
- The Elevator from Ipanema: Twice. Once before a shootout and once after.
- Empathic Environment: Thunder sounds when things start heating up between John and Jane during their Mating Dance in Bogota.
- Extended Disarming: While doing the tango, even.
- Fanservice: The scene where Angelina dresses as a dominatrix is really important to the plot. Honest!
- When you have two people who are consistently voted the two most attractive people in the world, it's inevitable. In the third quarter of the film. Jane is wearing a man's T-shirt that just barely functions as a miniskirt. John is in nothing but a tight V-neck and boxers.
- Fun T-Shirt: "The Tank" is seen wearing a Fight Club T-Shirt, as Actor Allusion.
- Fun with Subtitles: "Five or six years ago..."
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: During the interrogation scene with the Tank. Subverted in that they both try to play the bad cop.
- Hammerspace: John and Jane seem to pull guns out of nowhere. This is most prominent just before the final shoot-out. The two of them stumble into a shed wearing tight, semi-formal suits, with Jane wielding a handgun (a conspicuously different handgun than she'd been wielding a moment before) and no place on her person where she could be carrying more, and John wielding an MP 5 submachinegun, again quite visibly not wearing any other weapons. By the time they burst back out of the shed, Jane has two sets of handguns to wield akimbo, while John has found an assault rifle, a shotgun strapped to his back, and his own set of handguns.
- Handguns: John's handgun gives him the edge during the house-fight.
- Hand Signals: Spoofed when John and Jane start using them to squabble with each other.
- Hidden Supplies: Of weaponry.
- Hitman with a Heart: Though they don't have problems killing their targets or other professionals (guards and soforth), they do seem to try and avoid innocent casualties. John even takes the time to shout warnings and get civilians to run away when he's just ditched a bomb.
- During the fair scene, John casually hands one of the stuffed toys they won to a little kid.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In the final scene, a large group of "highly trained assassins" are unable to take down the protagonist duo.
- Indy Ploy: John, in general, is much more prone to improvisation, contrasting with Jane who prefers to plan assignments down to the last detail. Both are extremely capable.
- In Love with the Mark: An odd variant, as they don't rekindle their romance until after they learn they're each other's targets. And have a massive fight about it.
- Internal Reveal: Both of them find out the other's identity when they are assigned to take out the same target, but neither knows that the other knows. John deliberately drops a wine bottle as a test, which Jane passes (or fails depending on your perspective) when she catches it.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Their bout of Destructo-Nookie is interrupted by their neighbours...who bring the police.
- Kiss-Kiss-Slap: As well as Slap-Slap-Kiss.
- Knife Nut: Both are good with knives, but Jane seems to have a particular fondness for them.
- Latin Land: The Smiths first met in Bogota In Name Only.
- Let's Dance
- Lipstick Mark: Not exactly. In one scene, John comes home, slips on his wedding ring, and looks at a red stain on his collar. Suffice it to say, he wasn't having an affair, and the red stain was bit more organic in nature than lipstick.
- The Masochism Tango: Literally.
- The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Or rather, smother your marriage.
- Mating Dance: Aforementioned tango. Played straight during their first meeting in Bogota.
- Meganekko: Gwen (Michelle Monaghan)
- Missing Trailer Scene: Due to over an hour of scenes being cut before release, the trailers were filled with these. Most notably, every scene with Keith David and additional scenes with Vince Vaughn.
- Mr. Smith: Once, and only once, is "John Smith" lampshaded; when Jane orders her agency to search the databases. Her second-in-command points out that it's the one of, if not THE, most common male name in English.
- Mundane Utility: One of the early hints at Jane's secret life comes when she fixes the way a curtain is hanging by balancing perfectly on a chair that is standing on only one of its legs. In stilettos.
- Murder, Inc.: And its rival company Death Co.
- Mutual Masquerade
- Mysterious Employer: Helps drive the plot.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever it was that happened in Canada.
Jane: That was you?
- Not Staying for Breakfast: Subverted. In Colombia after they first meet, Jane wakes up to find John gone. He then walks into the room carrying breakfast.
- Orgasmic Combat: The Destructo-Nookie scene above does start with them in a knock down drag out fight with each other, destroying most of their home, but ends with them making out in the wreckage.
- Paid-For Family: Jane's parents.
- Playing Drunk: In the scene where we see John "at work," he pretends to be drunk and wanders into a room full of targets, asking for a round of poker. He sits down and plays cards with them, tricking them into letting their guards down and eventually shooting them all to death.
- Professional Killer
- Properly Paranoid: Both the Smiths have taken extreme precautions for just about any scenario... except realizing their spouse is a rival agent. Even then, many of the precautions come in handy. John can't even be voice-traced from the answering machine message because he's made sure to include electronic distortion as if it were malfunctioning.
- Punch Clock Villain: Both of them, with John arguably being the more sympathetic one.
- Relationship Reboot: Invoked by John once they decide not to kill each other and start telling the truth to one another: "We're going to have to redo every conversation we've ever had."
- Resignations Not Accepted: Neither of them.
- Scar Survey: Discussed rather than seen. The morning after their Destructo-Nookie John and Jane are talking about past hits, and the permanent injuries they have as a result.
- Shaking Her Hair Loose: Jane goes to see a mark pretending to be a prostitute with her hair pinned up. The first part of the seduction is shaking her hair out.
- Shown Their Work: When they fight, Jane is much more prone to using improvised weapons to bridge the physical gap between her and John. Female aggressors with male victims are much more likely to use weapons in domestic violence incidents for exactly that reason. It's also exactly what someone with Jane's build should do in an actual fight against someone bigger.
- Single Tear: After Jane thinks she's killed her husband with an Elevator Failure.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: or more truthfully Bang Bang "Bang"
- Smithical Marriage: When they first meet, John and Jane hook up with each other, pretending to be a couple to escape the Colombian authorities. However, they don't register under Smith, which is a pity.
- So Much for Stealth:
- John and Jane managed to silently take down several mooks, only for John to knock over a stack of cans. Cue autofire.
- John is sneaking through the house, knocks over a china vase which he catches in mid-air...only for the lid to fall off and smash on the floor. Jane opens up on the noise.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Mondo Bongo (the song playing during the Dance of Romance in Bogota) plays during the final shootout.
- Stocking Filler: Jane wears garters for one of her jobs. And knives.
- Super Multi-Purpose Room: John and Jane both have a Wall of Weapons - his under the shed, hers inside the oven.
- Table Space: Not quite super long but otherwise there.
- That Poor Cat: Heard when John is rushing through the bushes to the house.
- This Is Gonna Suck: When sneaking through the house, John accidentally bumps a ceramic jar with his elbow. He manages to catch it just before it falls... and then the lid falls off the jar and shatters on the floor. His face a split second before the crash just screams this, as he knows that the noise is going to tip off his whereabouts to Jane.
- Tuxedo and Martini: Jane's agency is full of flashy technology and attractive women. John is more of the "Stale Beer and T-Shirt" variety of spy. Slightly subverted in that most of the named drinks we see John drinking, re: alcohol, are martinis. And scotch once. This is reflected in almost everything they do. Jane's away-from-home workspace is in an upscale office building, while John's is a little back-room upstairs office. Her weaponry is behind an elaborate slide-away oven; John's is in a cellar under the toolshed. She sets up with a top-of-the-line sniping rifle and sighting equipment, while he pretends to be a scruffy nobody taking a piss and tries to take out the target with a rocket launcher.
- On the other hand, John identifies Jane by recovering her laptop and tracing one of the chips, like a proper hi-tech spy, while Jane does it by seeing John's walk and identifying him by instinct, just using her gut.
- Violently Protective Wife: By the end of the movie.
Jane: "What's her name and Social Security Number?!"
- Uptight Loves Wild: A shade of this. Jane meticulously plans everything out. John prefers just to wing it.
- Was It All a Lie?: Both John and Jane suspect the other of lying about their love for each other, but neither is willing to admit their own in case the other uses this to try and kill them.
- Why Am I Ticking?: John gets a bomb placed in his jacket. Used almost word for word - "Do you know you're ticking?"
- With Cat Like Tread: While sneaking around during the final battle, John takes out several opponents without making a sound...until he turns around and knocks over a stand of cans with the barrel of his shotgun.
- During the fight in the house, he manages to sneak around without getting seen, until he knocks over a vase. Even then, he manages to catch it...only for the lid to fall off and shatter on the floor, giving away his location.
- Women Are Wiser: Implied, with Jane's organisation seeming bigger, better-funded and more professional than John's, and Jane having a much higher bodycount than her husband.
- Would Hit a Girl: John is more than willing to punch his wife (among other things) when he finds out she's a rival assassin. This is a rare instance in which the male character is not called out. Likely because his wife gives as good as she gets.
- You Have 48 Hours: To kill your husband/wife.