Thursday, September 25, 2008

Get Smart (2008)

Siegfried (Terence Stamp): How do I know you're not Control?
Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell): If I were Control, you'd already be dead.
Siegfried: If you were Control, you'd already be dead.
Maxwell Smart: Neither of us is dead, so I am obviously not from Control.
Shtarker (Ken Davitian): That actually makes sense.

At a glance: Steve Carell steps into Don Adams shoes to play Maxwell Smart, the bumbling secret agent, in a movie that is lightweight, fun, but is somewhat lacking in big laughs

The television series Get Smart aired from 1965 to 1970, and centers around a bumbling secret agent named Maxwell Smart, and his efficient sidekick 99. Created by Mel Brooks (when Brooks was in his prime) and Buck Henry, it was ahead of its time in many ways, and it set the standard for the spy spoof genre for many years. It is my opinion that spy spoof/parody movies are not an easy genre to master, since spy movies in and of themselves tend to be bigger than life. Don Adams as the original Maxwell Smart did a great job; Steve Carell steps in here and does okay, carefully deciding not to emulate Adams, who often played the role like the standup comic that he was – mugging for the audience and playing hard for laughs. Anne Hathaway is an exciting 99. Carell and Hathaway are let down a little by a script that just does have enough laughs. For fans of the original show, there are plenty of homage moments (almost like somebody had made a checklist, and they made sure each box was checked), including a very clever way to work in the original car and shoe phone. Are those old jokes just as funny today as they were 40 years ago? The answer almost. The funky soundtrack helps a little, too. Rating: 2.5 of 4

"Stunts, gadgets and Bill Murray in a tree: Get Smart hurls everything at the screen in the hope it’ll stick. Shame all the money went on the dopey action finale instead of some halfway witty gags and a decent script."
- Total Film

"Overall this is a limp parade of recycled gags and gadgets: an action movie with no surprises and a comedy with nothing like enough laughs."
- Tom Huddlestone (Time Out)

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