By: The Dweeb
Get Smart is part of the recent trend of movie studios taking long dead television properties and giving them a reboot on the silver screen, the end result is that they mostly fail. The problem is of course that the original show in question was usually canceled for a reason (meaning it jumped the shark), or the this film version can not seem to recreate the chemistry that made the TV show work. I can think of many films that tanked, The Dukes of Hazzard, Speed Racer, or Starsky and Hutch come t0 mind right away. Of course the same could be said for many a TV show based on a movie, so its a delicate balance to get it right. There are of course, a select few film reboots that actually work, Star Trek, The Fugitive, Mission Impossible, Transformers, Waynes World, and the first X-files for starters. Get Smart I think gets it mostly right. Its a tough act to recreate when the show was originally created by comedy legend Mel Brooks, the master of satire.
But what director Peter Segal has managed to pay some respects to what Get Smart was, while in turn reinvigorating the concept by modernizing it and turning up the volume with the action and stunts. So now we have an action film that happens to be quite humorous with an update to the story of what happened to CONTROL after the fall of Communism. Ironically, its closely related to real events just as the original show was. So timing is everything, especially in comedy. The bits with the cone of silence or Max getting mistaken for a shoe bomber on the airplane are just plain hilarious, among others. But for the rest we could say, “Missed it by that much.” At least there are plenty of references to the original show as an homage, and lots of cameos (Bill Murray? Why?).
Speaking of timing, Steve Carrell, Anne Hathaway and the rest of the group do make this film a fairly funny affair to watch. Steve has some big shoes to fill, Don Adams made this his signature role, and I think Carrell does so quite successfully. He is able to blend a bit of Don’s antics with his type of comedy, although if he continues to just do his schtick in the future I’m afraid audiences may tire of his act. Did he pull it off in this film? Yes I believe he did, although the getting the girl part I could have done without. Why do films like these insist on breaking the sexual tension (or perceived tension) by the end of the film and they finally become a couple? That’s what makes this film funny, to see Agent 99 (Hathaway) and Maxwell Smart argue and bicker about the mission and constantly trying to one up each other. Surprisingly Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Agent 23 actually is a fairly convincing actor and plays the comedy bit very well. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised since he is a former ‘wrestler’. I loved the jamming of the stapler into someones forehead bit.
Similar to Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanmo Bay, the main DVD gives the viewers an option to watch extra scenes, or as they call it ‘comedy optimization’ mode. Thats a nice little bonus, along with the digital copy of the film. The second disc is filled with all kinds of stuff, although some of it is a bit odd in my opinion. Steve Carrell mocking his foreign language skills is almost insulting. The rest is fairly pedestrian and typical and has no much in the way of surprises. Its the usual Hollywood circle jerk.
Overall I think Get Smart is decent comedy, and somehow I think I smell a sequel.