I don’t remember “Get Smart” being one of my favorite TV shows as a kid, but I might be convinced to add the film to my collection when it comes out on DVD.
Starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne “I want to be taken seriously now so don’t call me The Rock” Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terrance Stamp and Terry Crews, this fun film stays fairly true to the 1960s series featuring the late Don Adams as Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon as Agent 99.
This New Millennium “Get Smart” is a little more high tech than the original—although the iconic shoe phone does make a brief appearance. It starts off with Smart, a top-level analyst, working his way up to agent status by foiling the attempt of enemy agents to infiltrate Control. Having proven himself worthy Smart then partners up with Agent 99 (Hathaway) to thwart a crime syndicate’s plan to control the world.
Carell turned in an admirable performance as the new wave Maxwell Smart, but anyone who was around to see the old school version might be a little disappointed. Carell’s just not as smart or as animated as his predecessor, a man he took great pains not to try and imitate.
Yet, as he always does in nearly all of his films and on his hit NBC sitcom “The Office,” Carell craftily uses his puppy dog eyes and deadpan expressions to solicit laughs. That usually works for him even when the punch lines fall flat, but he needed to tap more into his inner madcap in an over-the-top flick like “Get Smart.”
By the middle of the film, you’re almost over him.
That said, Carell’s chemistry with Hathaway was pretty tight. They danced well together and Hathaway was pretty impressive in her action comedy debut. How many women do you know who could kick butt in a form-fitting Chanel outfit and keep pace with a man while running down a street in six-inch heels?
Crews, who plays the dad on “Everybody Hates Chris,” had a small but memorable part as a veteran agent who gets his kicks off of bullying Smart. Johnson also held his own as Agent 23 and is part of an interesting plot twist toward the end of the film.
If you’re looking for laughs, this might be your best option this weekend. But with gas prices nearly $5 a gallon in some cities, I suggest you make smarter decisions with your entertainment dollars.
“Get Smart” or get food?