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Review: Get Smart

Jun. 21, 2008by: Chris Bumbray

Plot: Maxwell Smart, a.k.a Agent 86 (Steve Carell) of CONTROL battles the ruthless forces of KAOS alongside the beautiful agent 99 (Anne Hathaway).

Review: Let's get one thing out of the way- there is only one agent 86- and that man is not Steve Carell. I love Carell as much as anyone - THE OFFICE is terrific (and just as good as it's British counterpart), and THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN is one of the funniest films of the last decade. While I hated EVAN ALMIGHTY I think Carell is a comedic genius, and he's got a long, successful career ahead of him- but he's no Don Adams.


Truth be told I've never thought a GET SMART reboot was a good idea, as Adams is simply too well identified with the character. His brand of humor is just too damn hard to imitate. Carell tries his best- but whenever he delivers one of Adams' classic lines (like "missed it by THAT much", or "would you believe...") it sounds strange.

While I think ultimately this film is unnecessary, it's still fairly entertaining and it's certainly better than the recent PINK PANTHER reboot with Steve Martin. A lot of the credit has to go to Carell. While I didn't quite buy him as 86- he remains as likable as ever. Whenever he tries to imitate Adams he falls flat- but thankfully, that's only a small part of the film. Most of the time he delivers his own take on the character, and in that regard he's successful although it makes you wonder why they didn't go the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE route and make the film more of a sequel to the original show,. They could have easily had Carell play a new agent who inherits Smart's old position as Agent 86. Anne Hathaway also does a really good job as AGENT 99. She's absolutely stunning to look at, and she surprisingly has pretty good chemistry with Carell, despite their considerable age difference (which is cleverly alluded to in the film- explaining that 99 had her faced changed and appears younger than she actually is). I also really liked Alan Arkin as the Chief- although it would have been nice if his role was a bit bigger. Dwayne "THE ROCK" Johnson is fine as Agent 23, although he really takes a backseat to Carell & Hathaway until the last act of the film. James Caan also pops up as the U.S president, and does a fairly amusing Bush impression.

Less successful is Terrence Stamp as Siegfried- who's not really suited for comedy (the original Siegfried Bernie Kopell has a nice cameo), and I also really hated Masi Oka & Nate Torrence as Smart's techie buddies Bruce & Lloyd. Neither of them are the least bit funny and I cringed whenever they were onscreen. Supposedly there's a direct to DVD spinoff featuring the characters on the way, which you can rest assured I will NOT be checking out.


For me, the biggest surprise of the film was how much action it contains. There's a number of big chase and fight scenes, which are played relatively straight. In many ways- the film is actually more of an action flick than a comedy, which is a bit strange for a film based on GET SMART, but it works so who cares? Director Pete Segal, who's mostly known for his comedies with Adam Sandler, actually stages the action scenes quite well- and I particularly enjoyed the climatic SUV/plane chase. My only real problem with the film is the fact that it's not all that well edited. There's quite a few continuity errors, and some important scenes seem to have been cut out of the film at the last minute (including, I assume, a love scene for 86 & 99). Given that the film already runs close to two hours I suppose the powers that be didn't figure the film should run much longer but I have a feeling the changes must have taken place at the last minute, as the film feels noticeably disjointed at times.


Overall, GET SMART is a fairly slick film and the audience that I saw it with seemed to eat it up. I'm sure it'll be a sizable hit- and I wouldn't be surprised if it spawns a successful franchise. While I still don't think it's a necessary film (the original TV show holds up fairly well), it's nowhere near as lame as it could have been and it's MUCH better than the other GET SMART film, 1980's Don Adams vehicle, THE NUDE BOMB, which is best avoided.

Grade: 6.5/10

Source: JoBlo.com

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