Peter York on Ads: The credit's all Jen's in the fragrant Mr and Mrs Pitt Show

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The Independent Online

Brad and Jen: could there be anything more nice? It's a genius pairing. High concept. Mainstream yet a teensy bit ironic at the margins. Vanilla but in a new way.

It's all wonderfully complementary; much more than the sum of the parts.

Who's doing what for whom? There's the delicate hierarchy of film and television to consider. An A-list movie star still trumps the biggest TV face, but somehow she adds substance to him too. Despite Fight Club and Interview with a Vampire - movies which were meant to funk up and edge out his personal brand - he always looked like the high school heart-throb trying to do Kurt Cobain.

And some years back that great semiotician of modern culture, Fran Leibowitz, comparing the generations of Hollywood stars, said Brad just looked like a trick to her.

All this is redeemed by Jen's likeable presence. He's prettier than her, of course, but it's evening out as he gets older. And they've both got lots of money. It's all so wonderful.

Jen's highly identifiable non-threatening girl-next-door talents make her obvious casting for the young-ish independent woman shtick. The new Barclaycard commercial has Jen moving on through some mildly aspirational settings where men only want one thing of her - but she's definitely not up for it. She moves on with grace and humour - and her Barclaycard.

The device in this long, expensive commercial is a set of Being John Malkovich little doors. Back home in rural America she's off when a passing homeboy on a bike says "nice ass" (she has got a nice trim figure).

"Sometimes guys can be too much," says Jen without rancour. Exit through a little trap door in the back of a van and she's in an East Village bookshop asking for Proust. The bespectacled nerdy assistant comes on to her, so it's off again to a DIY shop.

She's fingering a drill and waving her plastic when the store boy tells her he's "a lip man". And so on to some comic chat-up with Caribbeans at a beachfront rum shack. "Guys just can't help themselves," says Jen in a mellow way as she watches cute boys on the sand; kind of early Brads really.

"Open doors with Barclaycard," these advertisements sayto modern women - and show us your ass when you're doing it.