PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

July 13, 2008

Movie Review – Get Smart

Filed under: Entertainment — CPav @ 10:55 pm

I’m a bit behind on my reviews, so I’m going to do my best to get caught up before this Friday — the day I’ve been waiting for all summer, seeing that I’m both a musical fan and a comic book fan; The Dark Knight and Mama Mia both open this Friday, both are getting great reviews, and I’m planning on using them as bookends to my day, seeing an early morning showing of Dark Knight with my sons and a group of their friends, and Mama Mia later in the day with my wife and daughter.

But first I need to clear out the movies I’ve seen in the past few weeks.

I need to start out with a couple of confessions. The first is that I was not a particular fan of the original Get Smart television show. It’s not that I disliked it, I just never watched it much. I was, of course, familiar with the basics: Don Adams as a bumbling secret agent, Barbara Feldon as his attractive partner, the forces of CONTROL battling the agents of KAOS. So I could appreciate the various nods to the original in the new movie version, but wasn’t particularly invested in how closely the movie relates or doesn’t relate to the series.

Second confession: I am a particular fan of Anne Hathaway. I’ve watched the Princess Diaries movies, Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada. Heck I’ve even seen Havoc. Well, okay. I’ve seen a few of the more…interesting…scenes. But I intend to watch the whole thing someday. Really, I do. So from that aspect, I was more predisposed to enjoy at least one performance.

To my delight, I enjoyed all the performances. But first things first: Get Smart, the new movie starring Steve Carrell (The Office), Anne Hathaway (Hoodwinked, which I have not seen), Alan Arkin (Wait Until Dark), and Duane “The Rock” Johnson (Southland Tales), is based on the Cold War television spy spoof created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. In this version, Maxwell Smart (Carrell) is an analyst for top-secret spy agency CONTROL. Max finally passes his field agent exam, only to find that the Chief (Arkin) values Max too highly as an analyst to allow him to transfer to the field.

Circumstances change for the worse, thanks to CONTROL’s rival organization, KAOS. Max is drafted to join the field agents, and partnered with the ultra-cool, ultra-capable Agent 99 (Hathaway). Together, they try attempt to infiltrate KAOS and prevent the evil organization’s latest plan for world domination. Along the way, the movie presents updated takes on a number of the original series’ signature moments, including a couple of nice cameos featuring well-known actors as supporting characters from the series.

Carrell is well-cast as Smart, eager to finally break away from his desk, and stumbling his way into success almost despite himself. As his reluctant partner, Hathaway is sexy and sly, reluctant to open up to Max due to being burned before. Johnson shows a different side to his usual tough guy image, with a lot of physical comedy, and Arkin makes the Chief much more a man of action than his predecessors.

If the movie has a serious flaw, it’s that, in the end, it leaves behind the parody and becomes just another action movie. It’s not a bad action movie, but it’s not particularly new either. It’s still a lot of fun, but not quite what it starts out as. Still, as an action comedy, it works quite well.

The 300 Project: 3/120


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