“GET SMART” (Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Alan Arkin & Dwayne Johnson)
Most critics hate this movie. I’m guessing they’re younger guys who don’t remember the ultimate silliness of the original series; in my 53 year old mind, they did it justice. In fact, I’d say this is the funniest ‘TV Show-turned-Featured Film’ since ‘The Simpsons Movie’... Okay, that wasn’t very long ago, but I will tell you that I found myself laughing out loud several times during ‘Get Smart’. Almost everything worked for me, & yes, I was a big fan of the old series; it, along with ‘F Troop’ were the epitome of ‘idiotic’ comedies from the 60’s. The formula is simple – ‘stupid’ people having jobs that require them to be intelligent and surviving thru dumb luck. Call it the ‘Pink Panther’ syndrome.
If done correctly (& it is a mighty fine line) it makes you laugh in spite of your better judgment. & this movie made me laugh – a lot. It was so funny, it made me forgive the little peccadilloes that seemed to ‘turn off’ other critics – the fact that Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) is much too young to be Max’s love interest (This is explained in the film) and the fact that 99 doesn’t even like the bumbling Agent 86 and doesn’t want to be partnered with him. That the few times the humor doesn’t work is when they pay homage to the original series by using Smart’s catchphrases, ‘Sorry about that, Chief’, ‘Missed it by that much’ & ‘Would you believe...?’ I’m sure if they didn’t include those tribute lines, those same critics would have found fault with their exclusion.
I had no problem at all with the casting; Terrence Stamp as Seigfried plays his villainous role ‘straight’, but in the end it worked out fine & the cameo by Bernie Kopell was a welcomed sight – His Seigfried was my favorite character from the original show.
“Starker!!! This is KAOS, we don’t go ‘pffth’ here!” made me laugh every time.
I don’t see how casting anyone other than Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart would have worked at all. His similar look & mannerisms to Don Adams made him the perfect fit – Not as funny as Don because he was mimicking, but I’m actually looking forward to a sequel or 2 to see if Steve can make the role his own...
Alan Arkin started out a little too dry for 'The Chief', but loosens up quickly. As new character, 'Super Agent' 23, Dwayne Johnson does a commendable job - at his best when teaching Larrabee that his lackadaisical work habits aren't appreciated.
Critics I’ve read & heard have said the only thing this film has going for it is that it’s a decent ‘serious’ spy flick... these guys are nuts. This movie rarely takes itself seriously, and when it does, it blows the whole concept of what Mel Brooks created.
A major continuity flaw is so obvious you know that the director filmed it that way on purpose; Max is attempting to shoot off his handcuffs in an airplane bathroom & keeps missing (the miniature bow & arrow device he uses keeps shooting arrows into his face)
When he accidentally hits the eject button, Agent 99 comes to his rescue. When they finally reach the earth safe & sound, Max not only doesn’t have any arrows stuck in his face, he isn’t bleeding at all from the multiple wounds he inflicted moments before. Like I said, so obvious, it was done on purpose.
So, here I go sticking my neck out by raving about a movie most critics & audiences don’t seem to care for (ala “The Happening”) but I can only give you my honest opinion & that is I thought this was an exceptionally funny film – my wife and the small crowd we watched it with laughed heartily as well. If you’re a fan of the original series & you’ve seen ‘Get Smart’ & didn’t like, I’d like you to leave a comment & tell me why, because I don’t get where all this hatred is coming from – it totally cracked me up.