Get Smart

"Very Good"

Get Smart Review


Remaking the satirical '60s spy sitcom Get Smart without Steve Carell in the Maxwell Smart role would have been pretty dumb.

Lucky for them -- and, by extension, us -- the creative team behind this rejuvenated Smart wisely tapped the unassuming funnyman to fill the late Don Adams' telephone-disguised-as-a-shoe. Carell's nimble turn as a calculatedly incompetent agent of CONTROL ensures that this modern spin on an outdated television property -- while rarely intelligent -- is consistently witty.

Created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, Get Smart aired from 1965-'70 on NBC and CBS. It starred Adams as Agent 86, chief operative of a secret U.S. government spy agency that routinely battled the forces of KAOS.

The television program's inherent structure contained enough broad physical comedy and international espionage to warrant a big-screen treatment without overhauling what people liked about the show in the first place. Detached European baddie Siegfried (embodied by detached Brit Terence Stamp) sums it up best when describing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" to Carell's undercover agent. "It's a bit familiar," Siegfried muses, "but it ends with a bang." There's no better way to encapsulate this hybrid of action and laughs.

KAOS still plots generic evildoings -- we're briefed on yellow-cake uranium thefts that suggest a possible nuclear explosion on U.S. soil. When CONTROL's Washington, D.C., headquarters is blown the smithereens, The Chief (Alan Arkin) sends his top operative, Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), on a mission to Moscow with new partner Maxwell Smart (Carell) in tow.

Director Peter Segal comes to Smart after back-to-back-to-back Adam Sandler comedies. He has a completely different comedic tool in Carell, and doesn't hesitate to experiment with the actor's go-for-broke physical approach to a gag. The most inspired finds Smart in a cramped airplane bathroom, where he attempts to escape plastic handcuffs using a miniature harpoon tool. The cuffs, of course, are the only thing Smart repeatedly misses. His toe, ear, cheek, arm, and unmentionables take a razor-sharp beating in a violently humiliating (and hilarious) sequence that might rival the chest-waxing scene from Carell's breakout hit, The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Blessed with the sexiness of a Bond girl, Hathaway's main assignment is to look amazing in leather cat suits and diminished cocktail dresses (mission accomplished) as she lobs comedic softballs to her home-run-hitter of a co-star. Dwayne Johnson (formerly known as The Rock) treads water as uber-spy Agent 23 -- he is to CONTROL what Michael Jordan was to the Chicago Bulls, and though Johnson is underused, there's a reason that reveals itself in time.

Clever casting extends to the film's numerous cameos. Bill Murray pops by to play a lonely agent assigned to a tree on the National Mall. Kevin Nealon plays a hot-headed Department of Homeland Security executive. And James Caan grins sheepishly as he affects a Texas drawl to lampoon our current president.

Others share the stage, but Smart is Carell's show. The versatile performer deserves the same praise Jim Carrey once earned by crisscrossing genres with ease. The transition from television (The Daily Show, The Office) to movies is impressive enough. But Carell has also proven himself comfortable in warmhearted ensemble comedies (Dan in Real Life), acerbic art-house comedies (Little Miss Sunshine), and blockbuster popcorn flicks.

Not that he's immune from a dud here or there. The last time Carell infiltrated D.C. for a summer comedy, he sported a snow-white beard and piloted a self-made ark to the steps of the Capitol, and Evan Almighty, sank like a stone to the bottom of a humorless sea. Back in Washington and defending our nation's freedom, Carell delivers the laughs two-by-two. Get on board Get Smart.

Princess Diaries 3 sports an all new look.



Get Smart

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th June 2008

Box Office USA: $130.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $230.7M

Budget: $80M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Village Roadshow Pictures, Mosaic Media Group, Warner Bros Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Fresh: 110 Rotten: 105

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Maxwell Smart, as Agent 99, as Agent 23, as The Chief, as Siegfried, as Agent 91, as Larabee, as The President, as Agent 13, as Hymie, David S. Lee as Ladislas Krstic, as Bruce, as Lloyd

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.