Archive for June 24th, 2008


Movie Review: Get Smart



Sorry about this one, Chief.


Starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, and James Caan. Directed by Peter Segal


For the most part, it was enjoyable.


The story: Maxwell Smart (Carell) works for CONTROL, an organization that rivals the CIA and is thought to be defunct. Smart is one of the best linguists for CONTROL, producing reports on singular conversations that look like tomes of literature. What he really wants to do, however, is be a field agent. On his eighth try he passes the test, but Chief (Arkin) won’t promote him because Smart is too good at his job.


When Siegfried (Stamp), a terrorist wanting to get KAOS back into action, blows up a factory and infiltrates CONTROL, agents are killed and their identities compromised, the Chief has no choice but to send out Smart (because no one knows who he is) and Agent 99 (Hathaway), who had facial reconstruction surgery (know one knows who she is, either).


Meanwhile, Siegfried and KAOS have a plan: the President (Caan, doing a “W” impersonation) will be attending a concert at L.A.’s Disney Hall. During the final notes of “Ode to Joy,” –KABOOM. Ensuring this plan is Shtarker (Ken Davitian) and a gigantic bodyguard named Dalip (Dalip Singh), as well as the possibility of a double-agent inside CONTROL.


What works for this movie is the “amusing” humor. Not always laugh-out-loud, not always knee-slapping, but whimsical, amusing humor. It’s this light-hearted humor that sustains for the first third of the movie. From there it goes to action sequences (the best I’ve seen done for a comedy movie) that are broken-up by an occasional remark or laugh-out-loud moment.


Carell’s plays Maxwell Smart as a doggish-character who gets kicked around a lot, but keeps loyal to the task at hand. He may not be 100% the Maxwell Smart envisioned a la Don Adams, but he’s the closest we got. Hathaway does a good job at being Agent 99, but I think she was a little young for Carell. Arkin was great as The Chief, and Dwayne Johnson did a good job, too. Hell, even Bill Murray did a good job as Agent 13 (an agent forever disguised as a tree).


Is there anything I didn’t like about the movie? Not really. I wasn’t expecting a lot. Does it stack up to the television show? Seeing as how the show was on the air decades ago, it’s kinda difficult. I mean, condense a TV show down to a two-hour film and don’t use the actors who were originally in it. Is it a good idea or a bad idea? Should we continue making movies based off of TV shows? That’s a discussion for another time.


Kudos to Trevor Rabin for making music that really stood out.


Overall, this movie was enjoyable in a “kill an afternoon” sorta way. If this doesn’t make the money it needs at the box office, it’ll be a hit when it comes out on DVD and makes its way to cable.


My grade: B