Sunday, April 14, 2024
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The Rundown: ‘Mr. And Mrs. Smith’ Is A Blast (And Would’ve Been With Any Title)

Rephrase my PRIME
The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.
ITEM NUMBER ONE – Good show
Most of the pushback I’ve heard about Amazon’s new Mr. And Mrs. Smith series has been related to the reboot/remake of it all. Which, yeah, I get. These things can be lazy sometimes and tiresome at others and sometimes a combination of both that just smells funky straight through. There’s a real fatigue there, with a steady stream of reimaginings and recasting that feels a little like the people in charge are just squeezing dry every piece of fruit they already have instead of going to the yard to pick some fresh stuff off the tree. Again, I get it. Believe me.
But maybe it will help to look at it this way…
Throw out the Brangelina of it all. Look at it fresh. Imagine all you knew about it was “Donald Glover and the creative team from Atlanta are working with Maya Erskine from PEN15 on a fun little series about two spies who had never met before getting paired up as a married couple and there are a ton of great guest stars and action and a travel budget that would make a real-life adventurer jealous.” You would watch that show, right? I definitely would. And I am. And it’s a blast so far.
I say “so far” here because I’m only halfway through. Amazon dumped the whole eight-episode season last week and I didn’t have to do the review and I enjoyed the first two so much that I decided to chill and savor it. I’m enjoying that, in part because there’s a “case of the week” aspect to it that makes each episode its own little story and in part because it’s nice to have little things to look forward to. Hey, speaking of the review I didn’t have to write, my colleague Kimberly Ricci handled it for us and she knocked this part out of the park.
Things go incredibly wrong in the business of death, and also, you have to consider this: how f*cked up are people who agree to do this for a living? Pretty screwed up, as it happens. In a departure from the film, Glover and Erskine’s “John” and “Jane” were hired before they knew that they would be paired with anyone, let alone “married.” They work that discomfort and the sense of discovery hard, in the most entertaining way. Glover is incredible as always, but Erskine steps up to take control of the screen, and boy, their onscreen relationship is as much of an occupational risk as their assignments themselves.
This is what I’m saying here. The show is so much its own thing, and such a different take on the premise, that I wonder if it’s actually being hurt by the title. Glover and Erskine come at it all from such a different angle, less focus for better SEO. 

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