Mr. & Mrs. Smith First Reviews: Donald Glover & Maya Erskine Shine in 'Compelling' Reboot, Critics Say

Thanks to its clever, thoughtful writing, a lineup of incredible guest stars, and especially the chemistry of its charming leads, critics say this is one adaptation that surpasses its source material.

by | February 1, 2024 | Comments

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Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the spy series starring Donald Glover and Maya Erskine, drops its entire first season on Prime Video on Friday, February 2. Co-created by Glover with showrunner Francesca Sloane, the program is an updated spin on the 2005 blockbuster that starred Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a married couple who also happened to be a pair of highly-skilled spies.

John Turturro, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Parker Posey, Wagner Moura, Michaela Coel, Alexander Skarsgård and Eiza González join Glover and Erskine in the series. They make up the impressive slate of guest stars who appear throughout the eight episodes.

Needless to say, this is a TV remake that has generated a bunch of buzz. Does it deliver? Here’s what critics are saying about Season 1 of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

How does it compare to the movie?

(Photo by David Lee/Prime Video)

Mr. & Mrs. Smith left plenty on the table when it left multiplexes nearly 20 years ago, and a new television series makes a convincing case the film’s concept has always been better suited for another medium entirely.
Alison Herman, Variety

Fueled by nimble writing and the natural chemistry of its two leads, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is the (very) rare reboot that both evolves and honors the original.
Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly

Like the original Mr. & Mrs. Smith, it’s a product of its time: Rather than schlock and awe, it aims for restraint and wit.
Lyvie Scott, TV Guide

But it’s because of its stylistic and narrative updates that Amazon’s show is able to take those seedling ideas from the original film and cultivate them into a compelling story that works surprisingly well, save for a few rough patches.
Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge

A successful marriage of action-thriller and mumblecore romcom, Mr. and Mrs. Smith skips the movie adaptation curse thanks to its laidback charm, effective comedy, and the exceptional chemistry of its leads.
Christian Bone, We Got This Covered

How are Donald Glover and Maya Erskine?

Donald Glover and Maya Erskine

(Photo by David Lee/Prime Video)

Maya Erskine and Donald Glover shine both together and individually in this spy thriller meets rom com, which reimagines the film in a unique and fun way.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Familiar and slight though the set-up may be, the series rarely feels contrived or stale thanks to the show’s breezy screwball energy and a pair of charming performances by Glover and Erskine, who exude an effortless, effervescent chemistry.
Dan Einav, Financial Times

Mr. & Mrs. Smith proves rather quickly that Glover and Erskine are excellent — not only together, but as two individuals on a journey of self-discovery amid unanticipated, deadly chaos.
Emily Bernard, Collider

Glover and Erskine bring an inescapable warmth to their pairing of supposed cold-blooded killers. Although they lack Pitt and Jolie’s action chops, they get the job done, their moves all the more believable for their lack of slickness.
Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle

Mr. & Mrs. Smith wouldn’t work without thrilling chemistry between its lead actors, and for the most part, Glover and Erskine deliver on that front. Their quick-as-a-whip banter and clashing personalities make genuine sparks, setting up a dynamic that is interesting to watch.
Rachel LaBonte, ScreenRant

What about the show’s guest stars?

(Photo by David Lee/Prime Video)

Sarah Paulson, Sharon Horgan (Bad Sisters) and a criminally underused Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) also pop up in guest roles. Parker Posey and Wagner Moura (Narcos) have the most obvious fun as a couple who match Jane and John in bonhomie and dangerous energy.
Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle

But it’s amusing as a showcase for high-wattage cameos; Paul Dano, Michaela Coel and John Turturro are among the long list of recognizable faces playing potential allies, enemies or marks. Most fun of all is Ron Perlman as a hardened criminal who spends so much of his time under John and Jane’s reluctant protection acting like an entitled baby that he becomes the catalyst for the inevitable conversation about whether to have kids.
Angie Han, Hollywood Reporter

Michaela Coel, Paul Dano, Parker Posey, and Wagner Moura are particular standouts, crafted with inner lives so interesting, you might find yourself wishing for a spin-off.
Lyvie Scott, TV Guide

Episode 6 stands out for several reasons, with Sarah Paulson’s turn as a key player in John and Jane’s personal life being the best guest performance of the season. Not only does she push the series closer to comedy than it had been yet, but she gets John and Jane to confront things about their relationship they have been actively avoiding.
Emily Bernard, Collider

Does the writing and directing deliver?

(Photo by David Lee/Prime Video)

The results feel surprisingly fresh, because show creators Francesca Sloane and Donald Glover have eschewed the easy option – a dumb action thriller – in favour of something wittier and more thoughtful.
Anita Singh, Daily Telegraph (UK)

The series subverts the crime thriller and rom-com genres, taking a look at the reality behind the spectacle of espionage, the mundane moments post-mission when all they want to do is take off their shoes, wash off the blood, and watch cartoons.
Cassondra Feltus, Black Girl Nerds

The deeper you get into the series, the more it becomes clear how much energy Sloane, Glover, and other writers like Stephen Glover, Yvonne Hana Yi, and Adamma and Adanne Ebo put into taking the 2006 film — which was very much a product of its time — and fashioning its quintessential elements into a story geared toward a modern audience.
Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge

Many of the creative choices made in Mr. & Mrs. Smith work to its advantage, but the most effective is how the show prioritizes character over world-building. If you’re a viewer who loves a complicated spy operation with a lot of lingo and jargon to keep track of, then this show isn’t for you. The series is rather upfront from the get-go, straightforwardly laying the foundation, cleverly sneaking out exposition and key personal details about our protagonists to the audience in the first few opening scenes.
Emily Bernard, Collider

Even everyday corners of New York are shot like an Architectural Digest spread, thanks in part to the minimalistic eye of director Hiro Murai. That glossy, gloomy artistic vision won’t gel with everyone, nor will the series’ eccentric, lowkey tone.
Lyvie Scott, TV Guide

How does it explore themes of marriage and espionage?

(Photo by David Lee/Prime Video)

Most episodes focus on one mission, the goal of which is usually a not-so-subtle metaphor for their latest relationship hurdle. A pregnancy scare isn’t just a pregnancy scare, nor is a double date with another couple just a double date. Therapy is itself a minefield of doctor-patient confidentiality, and the occasional dalliance with the cute next-door neighbor is never entirely innocent.
Lyvie Scott, TV Guide

The characters subvert tropes and swerve past clichés like a high-intensity car chase — which there literally is at one point — but there’s also something so silly and charming about watching these two fight within an inch of their lives while shouting directives at each other that they cap off by calling each other “babe.”
Emily Bernard, Collider

The structure is pleasantly nostalgic: Adventure-of-the-week stories that blend classic spy-genre elements — earpiece banter and epic shootouts, truth serum and international travel — with big-name guest stars in showcase roles.
Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly

Any final thoughts?

(Photo by David Lee/Prime Video)

What a delight to watch something smart and deeply felt that’s also so fizzy and funny. And on top of that, it’s stylish and great-looking.
Linda Holmes, NPR

The Donald Glover and Fransesca Stone adaptation could be called “Mr. & Mrs. Smith: An Anatomy of a Fall from a Marriage.” Their Prime Video series is a thoughtful high-wire act for a new generation.
M.N. Miller, FandomWire

Mr. & Mrs. Smith is DAMN GOOD TELEVISION and Prime Video’s best series yet. A smart and refreshing take on the 2005 film with sexy and sophisticated performances from Donald Glover & Maya Erskine.
Anthony Gagliardi, The Movie Podcast

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a sizably entertaining and meditative spy thriller fit for a millennial demographic.
Rendy Jones, Den of Geek

It is fast, fun and witty. Care has been taken with every aspect.
Lucy Mangan, Guardian

A reboot this good is an asset worth holding on to. — Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly

Mr. & Mrs. Smith: Season 1 (2024) premieres on Prime Video on February 2, 2024.

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