To review, back in 2021 it was announced that Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge would collaborate on and co-star in a new take on Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the sexy spy rom-com that brought us Brangelina. Then, seven months after that announcement, Phoebe Waller-Bridge departed the project over “creative differences”. And then in 2022, just over a year after we first learned of this remake, Donald Glover revealed that Pen15’s Maya Erskine would co-star in the remake with him, while also hinting that maybe something dramatic happened between him and PWB. Now, we have a teaser introducing the new Mr. and Mrs. Smith, as played by Donald Glover and Maya Erskine, and it looks…fine.
The new iteration is a series for Prime Video, and this time, rather than a couple of spies who unwittingly married only to find out they’ve been hired to kill one another, John and Jane Smith know the other is a spy, they are partnered on a mission in which their cover is as a married couple. So, I guess the “joke” this time is that they’re in on it, but all their friends and neighbors are clueless, and, oh, she doesn’t want to fall in love! I do not find this as scintillating as the original premise. There’s less tension—your friends and neighbors don’t know a lot about your relationship, that’s not unusual—and the idea of the work-driven woman resisting romance feels sort of uninterestingly retro.
There are some key veterans of Atlanta involved besides Donald Glover, including Stephen Glover, Hiro Murai, and Francesca Sloane—who is credited as a co-creator and showrunner for the series—which makes me hopeful there is more under the Mr. & Mrs. Smith hood than the teaser is showing off. Certainly, there is a great cast beyond Glover and Erskine, including Paul Dano, Parker Posey, John Turturro, Michaela Coel, Sarah Paulson, Sharon Horgan, Ron Perlman, and Alexander Skarsgard. Even though Waller-Bridge departed the series, there’s still a lot of powerhouse talent involved, so hopefully, it pulls together to be more than we’re seeing so far, because Mr. & Mrs. Smith set a really high bar for being entertaining, and the new version doesn’t look that captivating, so far.