Mr. and Mrs. Smith is an enjoyable romantic comedy that mines the screwball vein without quite finding a rich lode therein. It has the elements that great screwball comedies require -- an eccentric leading lady with madcap tendencies, a leading man at odds with her, a series of comic misunderstandings that all evolve from one central plot point, an able supporting cast, a setting among the Park Avenue class -- but this particular highball doesn't get the mixtures right and so lacks a kick. Part of this is due to Alfred Hitchcock, whose direction is assured when it needs to be frantic. Hitchcock gives us the laughs, mind you, but they're laid-back chuckles rather than guffaws. Still, even if one misses the frenetic pacing that the material seems to call for, there's something reassuring about the unhurried, confident tone Hitchcock lends to the piece. Certainly, one is in very amiable company with the likes of a luscious Carole Lombard, a smooth Robert Montgomery, and an amusing Gene Raymond. If Smith never quite explodes, it still fizzes along very nicely.
by Craig Butler review