Reel Shorts | Get Smart

20 06 2008

Retired for almost 30 years, the filmmakers re-introduce audiences to super spy Maxwell Smart who makes a triumphant return in the flawed but entertaining comedy, “Get Smart.”

This latest version of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry’s clever television show finds Smart as an analyst for CONTROL who has been consistently passed by other agents and is stuck in the office sit while other agents get the glory in the field. But he has an ally in the super suave Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson), who takes the uptight analyst under his wing, protecting him from the ridicule of his co-workers.
After a chance encounter with a woman who turns out to be Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), Smart discovers that all of CONTROL’s field agents’ identities have been compromised by KAOS. The Chief (Alan Arkin) promotes Smart and names him Agent 86. Soon paired with the 99, the two are assigned to locate and disable a bomb making plant and stay one step ahead of KAOS’ mastermind, Siegfried (Terrence Stamp).

The two must overcome their difference, battle a Richard Kiel-like adversary and basically learn to trust one another, while trying to learn the identity of a bomb that may detonate the west coast!

Everything that was popular in the television series is back for this film including Smart’s catchphrases (“missed it by THAT much!”), the cool gadgets (the shoe phone and the goofy “cone of silence”) and most of the main characters. Where the original series was expertly written and featured snappy dialogue and wonderful comic timing by the cast, much of the humor of this film feels forced and heavy on gags.

It is as if the filmmakers used the series as a foundation and while creating a back-story lost the fun and joy that made the original series humorous.
Another summer film, another lackluster performance by Carell who has the look, but his 86 comes across as a stiff, anal geek where Don Adams humor was much more relaxed. Hathaway’s 99 is much sexier than Barbara Feldman’s portrayal, but she and Carell have rotten chemistry together. Johnson is given much to do other than to do what he does best – provide the beefcake for the story.

Even The Chief played by Arkin seems to have had several cups of coffee too many as he punches out feds and members of the executive branch. Instead of a movie, “Get Smart” feels like one long skit sullies the memory of a very funny show.

Director Peter Segal’s film doesn’t necessarily pay homage to the original. He updates the tone with mixed results. The end result is a film that is only mildly amusing but has no clear identity. One of the characters puts it best that after one of his gadgets is destroyed he flashes a look of disgusts and exclaims, “fricken agents, man!”

It’s fitting that when Smart dons Agent 86’s original suit and gets behind the wheel of his car that he soon sputters and comes to a complete stop – a fitting metaphor for this underwhelming story. The best way to watch this film is with your own “Cone of Silence.”

Grade: C-

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2 responses

8 07 2008
patrick

Get Smart looks okay over all though Steve Carell seems to be veering more and more toward not so funny slapstick humor

12 07 2008
maxwell smart super agente 86

[…] maxwell smart who makes a triumphant return in the flawed but entertaining comedy, ???Get Smart.???https://filmgordon.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/fricken-agents-man-get-smart/Fallece el Superagente 86Ha fallecido a los 82 años de edad Don Adams, el mítico super […]

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