One of the trends in Hollywood for the past few years is to break out all the old classics and remake them. We have seen so many remakes that I’m beginning to have remake overload. Then again, as long as the movie version is good, old-fashioned entertainment, I can’t complain. Get Smart, the movie, fits that bill.
Get Smart is about a special operations analyst, Maxwell Smart (played by Steve Carrell), who has big dreams of becoming a secret agent with his employer, CONTROL, a secret agency funded by the United States government to thwart the operations of an unknown person called KAOS, who sprang up during the Cold War and never really left the scene.
With the identities of the CONTROL agents compromised, Agent 86, formerly known as Analyst Smart, teams up with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) to battle one of KAOS’ minions. Along the way, a mystery is solved and two agents are brought closer together.
Screenwriters Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember had their hands full trying to re-create the smart stupidity that was the TV show Get Smart; and actually did an amazing job bringing it back to life. I was not alive when Get Smart debuted on the small screen in September 1965, so I checked out Internet Movie Database to find out how the show was scripted. Although the movie’s plot is not spectacular, it keeps with the theme of the TV show; which is what adaptations are supposed to do.
It’s hard to say whether director Peter Segal’s efforts went above and beyond, seeing as the script must have mapped out much of the plot. Segal, who was only three years old when the TV show first aired, is the mastermind behind comedies like The Longest Yard and 50 First Dates. Both of those movies were good, but not great. Get Smart is a great comedy. I laughed so hard, my throat hurt.
Of course, a movie isn’t a movie without its actors. Carrell, a veteran comedian in this stage of his career, is amazing as hapless Agent 86, done with classic Carrell panache. Hathaway is decent as Agent 99; although her character’s romance with Agent 86 is not entirely believable. I’m not sure if it’s because Hathaway and Carrell don’t have much chemistry onscreen as two lovers, or if their age difference is a little off-putting. On second thought, I think it’s both.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the ultra sexy Agent 23 is all muscles and handsomeness without much brain power. This isn’t too bad, seeing as I just like looking at Agent 23.
Other characters of note include: Terry Crews as Agent 91 (he can be my special agent any day), Terence Stamp as evil Siegfried (KAOS’ key minion of the moment), Bill Murray as Agent 13 (stuck in his duties as an agent), Alan Arkin as The Chief of CONTROL (a tough old man), James Caan as the president of the United States (a throwback to George W. Bush), Lindsay Hollister as Max’s tango dance partner (she can kick with the best of them), and Masi Oka (of Heroes fame) as Bruce, a real nerd.
Kudos to costume designer, Deborah Lynn Scott. The clothes that Hathaway’s Agent 99 got to wear reminded me of her Devil Wears Prada days; a very nice reminiscence, indeed.
I may not have been alive for the TV show, but I’m glad I was around for the hilarious movie version of Get Smart.
No, its plot does not have much meaning. But, the film is a “smart” way to spend a lazy summer Saturday night with friends.