It was announced yesterday that Angelina Jolie‘s next directing project will be By The Sea, a smallish relationship drama costarring herself and husband Brad Pitt. It shoots next month (partly in Malta) with Universal distributing. Last May The Hollywood Reporter‘s Borys Kit wrote that “some insiders [are speculating] it could be a relationship drama that Jolie wrote several years ago, [about] a couple with issues who take a vacation in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage.”

Well and good, except with one or two exceptions husband-and-wife collaborations have not worked out. At the very least they’re spotty. All good films come about through creative collaboration and, to a certain extent, conflict. But the best ones are almost always the result of a single, all-powerful director being the absolute boss — a creative dictator whose vision and control is mostly unchallenged. (Or at least is not strongly interfered with.) It follows that this dynamic can’t prevail when a husband and wife make a film together as all successful, healthy marriages rest upon an understanding that they have a partnership to maintain, and that this means showing mutual respect and some deference and that neither party is the CEO…well, that’s not really true, is it?

Most of the marriages that I know are more or less about the wife being the honcho and the mature, practical-minded brains of the family and the husband, in many instances an adolescent in adult clothing, pretty much doing what he’s told (bring home his share of the bacon, mow the lawn, put up the storm windows, take out the garbage). If Brangelina have that kind of marriage then By The Sea might actually work out. If they don’t then it probably won’t. I’m sorry.

Tammy is the most recent example of a husband-wife collaboration (Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone) gone wrong. (In the view of critics and people with taste, I mean.) I didn’t think Hit and Run, directed by Dax Shepard and costarring his wife Kristin Bell, was too bad (some of it was actually inspired, I felt) but it didn’t seem to connect all that well commercially. The most critically esteemed male-female movie collaboration in history is the one that existed between the close-but-unmarried Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, but that was one in which Allen was the undisputed boss. Paul Newman and Joanna Woodward worked out pretty well together when they made Rachel Rachel with Newman directing and Woodward starring. The Savage Is Loose, a 1974 collaboration between director and star George C. Scott and his wife Trish Van Devere, was general regarded as a critical and commercial dud.