Get Smart (2008)

Once again, the big screen is drawing upon the TV screen for inspiration, while years ago it used to go the other way. While last week it was Sex and the City, this time it is Get Smart. Also, this is another TV series that I have never seen a single episode of, although my excuse this time is that it was on back in 1965.

Steve Carrell, who I am not a big fan of, plays Maxwell Smart, the lead character. He is a an analyst at Control, a secret government agency that battles the evil forces of KAOS (which looks like the call letters of some radio station in the Midwest). When Control gets taken down, and they are short agents, and Maxwell gets his wish to be sent into the field as a full fledged Secret Agent. The only problem is that it is immediately apparent that he is in over his head, way over his head actually. So to counter his "newbie-ness" he is partnered up with veteran Agent 99, played by the up and coming Anne Hathaway. Faster than we can say "spy gadgets," the duo is off to combat the forces of evil.

Along the way, there is plenty of humor, and Get Smart draws upon plenty of source material. For example, there is a scene with a laser security system blanketing a room that looks like it was lifted from the film Entrapment. There is also a segment of Get Smart that throws in some of the props of the venerable TV series, including the iconic "shoe phone" that must have mesmerized audiences long before we all had smart phones on our belts.

My criticism of the film is that I think it loosens up a little too much at times. The plot is relegated to secondary status as Maxwell and Agent 99 continuously bicker how to handle a situation. Add in Maxwell's antics, and the emphasis on physical comedy to the exclusion of most everything else, and you can see how things constantly blowing up and falling, for no reason at times, can strain the attention span as repetitiveness abounds.

On the plus side, at least I've finally found a film that Steve Carrell seems better suited for. His goofy physical comedy works here, which seemed totally out of place in Dan In Real Life. Hathaway does a departure from her more serious roles into this type of comedy, and she did seem a little miscast at times, although I'm told that she looked like the character in the original series. Rounding out the ensemble was Dwayne Johnson, better known as "The Rock," who portrays Agent 23, the machisimo super agent that is the role model for all to aspire to.

What's the final verdict for Get Smart? I think it was a pretty good film, but it missed the mark for excellent. Those looking for a secret agent spoof film will enjoy it, and it is likely the start of a whole series of these from the box office sales of this reprised franchise. Fans of the old TV show will be pleased, but it was fine entertainment for those that had never seen the show as well.

Overall Grade: B (almost a B+)

Reviewed by Jonas


smg58 said...

You never saw reruns of Get Smart???

digitaldoc said...

No, but I am looking for them now, and they aren't on any cable station for the next two weeks. I'll keep you posted.