TV

Mr. and Mrs. Smith Review: Better Than Brangelina’s


Mr. and Mrs. Smith is an exciting modern take on a classic spy thriller concept.

Donald Glover and Maya Erskine guide a man with a black bag over his head in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Photo: David Lee | Prime Video

As a followup to Atlanta and Swarm, Donald Glover adapting Doug Liman’s entertaining 2005 spy caper Mr. and Mrs. Smith for a television format is an unlikely choice. That said, there’s a certain timeliness to the premise of a married spy couple trying to survive missions and each other, ideally suited for every generation.

This iteration, created by Glover and Francesca Sloane, is a strictly millennial-geared update with a progressive heart and more romantic soul to round out its stealthy concept. Whereas this Glover and Maya Erskine-starring update likely won’t spur a pop culture impact as significant as the formerly-renowned Brangelina film did, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a sizably entertaining and meditative spy thriller fit for a millennial demographic.  

Set in bustling NYC, two stranger spies, John (Glover) and Jane Smith (Erskine), are interviewed for a potential spy gig by a mysterious agency they only speak to via texts. Upon meeting, they learn they are assigned to each other as spouses and are pretty novices to the spy game. Working for what John calls “Hihi,” (due to its usual greeting) each episode chronicles the Smiths getting better acquainted and romantically involved with each other as they embark on mission assignments on a global scale. 

Great dramedy performers in their own right, Glover and Erskine’s chemistry works as this version’s fuel. For those who remember, initially, Jane was going to be portrayed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge but dropped due to creative differences. Erskine is a strong replacement and a better fit for Glover’s even-tempered, awkward John. Glover and Waller-Bridge are both big on deadpan of varying degrees; it’s difficult not to assume the series would’ve been an awkward riff-off. Erskine, however, brings a welcoming, adversarial repartee to Jane –– grounding Glover’s familiar characterization and leading the charge on the romantic aspects. 

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