Published on June 23rd, 2008 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Get Smart
Every person that reviewed this movie poorly is clinically retarded. Would you believe severely traumatized?
All of you who loved the television series Get Smart should LOVE this movie. It may have quelled some fears if the tag “consultants: Mel Brooks and Buck Henry” came at the beginning of the movie, since these original series co-creators can hardly touch anything without it being comedic genius (I say anything because, I’m sorry, Dracula: Dead and Loving It should have been aborted like a…well put in your own analogy, I don’t want to sound uncaring.)
The movie follows Maxwell Smart (portrayed flawlessly by Steve Carell), a formerly portly analyst for C.O.N.T.R.O.L that has dreams of making it big like his hero, Agent 23 (played by Dwayne Johnson). When K.A.O.S. agents infiltrate the C.O.N.T.R.O.L. HQ and compromise the names of all their agents, it’s up to Max and Agent 99 (sensuously played by Anne Hathaway) to save the President and the city of Los Angeles from destruction.
First off, the casting was spot on. Steve Carell was able to keep the Don Adams sly confidence and dry wit without losing too much of the lovable ineptitude. Anne Hathaway plays 99 deliciously, with a mix of deadly sexuality and bite. The supporting cast does just as well, with notable performances by the ever fantastic Alan Arkin as the Chief, and Terrance Stamp as Siegfried of K.A.O.S. Even at the end we get Hymie, the lovable robot agent played by none other than the hilarious Patrick Warburton.
Now I must say it isn’t EXACTLY like the series. People need to realize that the type of humor Mel Brooks went for in the 60’s is not the type of humor he goes for today (if you’ve seen Robin Hood: Men in Tights, you know what I mean). While there was a lot of over the top humor back in the day, it wasn’t all sight gags, and they weren’t always so banal; it was somewhat more highbrow compared to the over the top sight gags of today. Obviously we have to very quickly get these characters up to speed, as they don’t have a gajillion episodes to flesh out and solidify characters, so we do miss stronger character arcs.
My two main disappointments were the direction they took agent 23’s character at the end (spoiler alert, he’s the bad guy too), and PART of the 86 character. For the Rock’s part, he played the character of suave, cool 23 very well. I just felt that making him a bad guy was a little forced; it didn’t quite feel right at the end of the movie. As for Max, Carell again does a great job getting the audience to like him as he tries to act courageous and knowledgeable, and is of course really just a complete fish out of water. There were parts though where he was actually TOO competent. The Max of the television series would NEVER have been able to actually hit something he aimed at with a gun, let alone several times. There also, and this is funny to gripe about, were not enough accidents.
A lot of the situations that Max got into, or got out of, were completely accidental. Anyone who watched cartoons from the 60’s and 70’s knows Hong Kong Phooey, who would act like he was the shit, but it was really his trusty cat Spot that would get him out of messes. In Get Smart, 86 would find his way into a situation and would either stumble out, or stumble around while Barbara Feldon got him out. That was part of Max’s appeal, that cocky self assuredness that never rubbed you the wrong way because you knew he meant well, and he acted that way because he was making up for the fact that half the time he was just faking it and was hoping to get credit for style points.
All in all it was an incredibly funny movie that paid a great deal of respect to the original series, and while a couple elements did fall under what would be seen as spot on, the overall picture was a joy to watch. I hope that they take note of the couple kinks in the characters and build on that for next time.