Written by Tom J. Astle & Matt Ember
Directed by Peter Segal
Running Time: 1:50
for some rude humor,
action violence and language.
Get Smart was a funny, action-filled film that had me laughing and cheering throughout.
Agent Maxwell Smart is the best researcher CONTROL has, but he dreams of someday becoming a field agent. His dreams come true, tragically, when KAOS attacks the CONTROL headquarters, and discovers the names of all field agents. Smart is put into the field with the iconic Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) to try and track down the leader of KAOS and stop him from attacking the U.S. with nuclear weapons.
To me, there was a disconnect between the buzz for the film and the commercials. I didn't find the TV ads all that funny, but there was a lot of buzz around the film. After seeing Get Smart, I understand... the movie is fantastic. To me it was almost a perfect mix of action and comedy with a cast that could handle both. First off, there's Steve Carell, who was born to play Maxwell Smart (in a remake!) He's the master of the deadpan humor but he's also got a certain charm and likeability about him where you want him to succeed. But he's also not such a 90 pound weakling that you can see him in fights, even if he does need some help. Anne Hathaway is beautiful and also looks like someone who could kick some ass. She's much younger than the other agents, but it's discussed in the film and a reason is given that isn't simply tossed out one second and then never talked about again. In a lot of movies there will be something ridiculous that happens and one character will make a throwaway comment to explain it away, and you're just supposed to accept it. Here, they explain it, but then come back to it a couple of more times. To me, that helps legitimize it. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson plays Agent 23, the cool, suave field agent who encompasses everything you expect a spy to be. And the film knows that and gives him a WWE-type entrance into the film. Alan Arkin plays The Chief of CONTROL while Terence Stamp plays the leader of KAOS. Both bring serious acting chops to a summer film. So while Carell is the star of the film and has enough star power to carry a film on his own, his supporting cast adds a lot to the overall enjoyment.
For those of you who watched the old TV series with Don Adams, I think you'll enjoy this update. They go back and hit all the old jokes (missed it by that much!), the cone of silence, the agent who constantly is undercover and my favorite 'would you believe Chuck Norris with a BB gun?' At the same time, they obviously ramp up the action where this could easily pass as a Bourne film, if not for the constant humor. The plot is decent for this kind of film, and although it carries on a little too long (the film runs 110 minutes, but could have been chopped down by about 10) it was strong enough that it didn't make the film feel weak. They decided to make an action film with comedy rather than a comedy with action, if that makes sense. The chase sequence towards the end of the film is as good as any other you'll see this summer.
There are a couple of downsides to the film. If you're expecting it to be exactly like the TV show, it won't be. Maxwell Smart is a little, well, smarter in this film that he was on TV. And the chemistry between him and Agent 99 was a little hard to understand if mainly because of the apparent age difference. A lot of time was spent on the good guys and not a lot on the bad guys, which would have helped the plot become more focused and important. We did get to see a lot of The Great Khali, Dilip Singh, which I enjoyed because the man is a certifiable monster. He could make a good career playing a henchman in every film imaginable. I would have loved to have seen him and The Rock go head to head for a fight, but alas...
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I really enjoyed Get Smart. I will admit to being a huge Steve Carell fan, a fan of The Rock and I've watched Anne Hathaway since she was on a little seen TV show called Get Real back in 2000, so having all of those people certainly helps. But for right now I can say that Get Smart is my favorite film of the summer.
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