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I just saw an advance screening of Get Smart and it was great! It was simply the best adaptation of a classic TV series for the big screen. I don't know how to explain it but it successfully carried the tone that the original series had. It was silly but not too silly and, at the same time, a little serious but not too serious. Familiar characters, props, music, jokes and lines all brought back fond memories of a delightful TV series. And there were plenty of new elements in this film that made it interesting and entertaining to watch. Steve Carrell was terrific as Agent 86 and seemed to capture the essence of Maxwell Smart. Not only did his portrayal of him resembled that of Don Adams' from the sound of Smart's voice to the delivery of Smart's lines, Carrell managed to inject a bit of his own personality to create a new Smart that didn't stray too far away from the old. Anne Hathaway was perfect as Agent 99. She did bear some resemblance to Barbara Feldon and actually delivered her lines in a similar manner as her at times. But more importantly, she had great chemistry with Carrell. A key ingredient to Get Smart's success was Maxwell Smart and Agent 99's chemistry and I'm glad the writers of this film didn't forget that. Feldon and Adams had terrific chemistry and so too did Hathaway and Carrell. Unlike previous film adaptations of old television series that only superficially resembled their TV series counterpart, this film can truly be considered a big screen version of the Get Smart TV series. Where Lost In Space, Mission Impossible, Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch and (have I missed anything?) have failed, this film succeeded in maintaining the tone and style of the original series upon which it's based. Moreover, the filmmakers managed to bring Get Smart up to date without forgetting its roots. New ideas created for this film seemed to be natural extensions of those used for the original series. Jokes, props, music, characters and plot, old and new, all seemed to be born from the Get Smart world. I wish I could get into more details but I don't want to give anything away. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and highly recommend this to anyone, especially fans of the original TV series.
I saw a preview of "Get Smart" last week at Warner Brothers, and all my
worries about what they would do with the great TV series vanished in
the first few moments of the movie as Steve Carell enters Control
through the famous doors, and so began one of the most hilarious
comedies I have seen in a long time. To my added delight, I recognized
Mel Brooks himself sitting in the back row and laughing along with
everyone else! What a thrill for me that not only was I seeing an early
screening of the movie, but enjoying it with my hero, the co-creator of
my favorite TV show of all time. Carell and Hathaway are perfectly
matched. They have somehow channeled the essence of Don Adams and
Barbara Feldon. Carell is drop-dead funny throughout but especially in
a scene in the airplane. We all kept laughing right into the next
scene, but my favorite is a dance scene with Carell and 99 that will go
down in movie history as a classic. Also, I keep remembering the
hilarious scene when a kid in a car tries to call his mom's attention
to Carell flying outside across the car window and she testily
dismisses him. At the end of the movie there was loud applause. This is
a summer blockbuster. P.S. Real fans should stay through the end of the
credits because the movie is dedicated to Don Adams and Ed Platt.
P.P.S. I just read the interview with Mel Brooks, and I'm delighted that he loves the movie made from the TV Series. He is certainly the best critic of it, and so it thrilled me, all the good things he said about it, because I felt the same way!
I was lucky enough to catch a screening of 'Get Smart' and absolutely
loved it. I saw the movie in Manhattan and there's nothing tougher than
a New York audience, and the whole room was dying laughing throughout
the film. I don't know what church group these nay-sayers saw the film
with, but it is hilarious.
Steve Carell is at his best. He is incredible as Maxwell Smart. He does channel Don Adams when appropriate, but really makes the character his own. His chemistry on-screen with Anne Hathaway, who plays Agent 99, is great. There's been some complaints about the age difference, but they clear that up in the film.
The story line is solid and helps introduce this great spy comedy to a new generation. The cast is absolutely stacked, Alan Arkin, the Rock, Dave Koechner all kick ass and help make 'Get Smart' an instant classic.
If you were a fan of the original 'Get Smart' series, there's no question you'll love this movie. Check it out.
Yes, go see this movie. I know sometimes a preview looks pretty good
and then the movie stinks (hello, Indiana Jones IV?) but this one does
I remember enjoying the "Get Smart" TV series when I was a kid, and like some other reviewers here, I feared the remake might screw it up (even though watching a couple of 5th-season episodes recently reminded me just how bad the show got late in the game.) But this movie version strikes just the right balance of action and comedy, while also balancing fresh ideas with welcome nods to the TV series.
After all, it wouldn't be "Get Smart" without "Would you believe...", "Sorry about that, Chief", or "Missed it by THAT much." It was also great to see such classics as the shoe phone, the Cone of Silence, Hymie the robot, and not one but two of the cars that Don Adams would have driven. But while some remakes mining the past for material have nothing new to say, and get stuck in paying homage to their predecessors, the "Get Smart" movie has a pretty good story of its own.
Now this isn't Robert Ludlum material, and I doubt anyone is real surprised to see who turns out to be a bad guy, but it's a lot of fun along the way, with either a sight gag or surprisingly good action (and often both at the same time) coming down the pike every few minutes. There just aren't really any slow spots. I'm sure a lot of funny stuff got left on the cutting room floor (surely they didn't put Carrell in a fat suit for a mere ten seconds of film) but the pacing felt just right. We can catch all that other stuff when the DVD comes out at Christmas.
Steve Carrel plays Agent 86 almost exactly the way he portrays Dunder-Mifflin's Michael Scott. He comes off as basically well-meaning and earnest, and although a bit bumbling at times, his Maxwell Smart is thankfully not Don Adam's version. Neither was this one of those "Naked Gun" characters who stumbles into success despite his incompetence; Smart has some hilariously bad moments, but is never made out to be simply a lucky fool.
Carrell and Anne Hathaway have surprisingly good chemistry, and Alan Arkin is perfect taking over Edward Platt's role as "the Chief." Former wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson does a good job as Agent 23, and an even larger wrestler (7-foot 2-inch, 387-pound Dalip Singh from "The Longest Yard") is well-cast as a KAOS underling, although most of the other main bad guys are rather forgettable. Even TV-series KAOS agent Bernie Koppel shows up for a cameo, as does Patrick Warburton (who will be terrific in the inevitable sequel) and Bill Murray (almost unidentifiable hiding in a tree.)
Bottom line: you won't come out of this movie feeling as if you were cheated out of your money. Judging from the laughter in the theater and smiles in the lobby as we left, a lot of folks agreed with me. This is going to make a ton of money, and deserves it. Look for "Get Smart II" in a couple of years, and let's just hope it is as good as this one.
P.S. - It's rated PG-13, but there's very little that's objectionable for even younger viewers (Carrel rips the seat out of his pants.) Take the kids, and have a good time!
With loads of action, quirky humor, jazzy music, and shoe phones, Get
Smart has admirably mimicked the blend of genres and innovations that
made the original series so memorable, and while die-hard fans will
likely pick apart what this re-envisioning doesn't get right, it's
almost impossible not to laugh at Steve Carell's ludicrous on screen
Over-analyzing analyst Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) dreams of becoming an official Agent for the top secret government organization CONTROL, and longs to execute action-packed spy missions like his idol, the charismatic Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson). When CONTROL headquarters is attacked by longtime nemesis group KAOS and many of the Agents' identities are compromised, Smart is promoted to Agent 86 and partners with the unwilling Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) to thwart the villainous group's latest plan for world domination.
Whether or not Steve Carell perfectly embodies Maxwell Smart, he certainly knows how to handle his comedy. Excelling at both physical and verbal-stemmed laughs, Carell makes the tumbles look as easy as his notable style of quick quips and clever observations, and the funnyman seems to garner chortles even when the rest of the crew can't quite muster an equal energy. Anne Hathaway provides the good looks and serious attitude to counter Agent 86's incessant jokes, and the pair's on screen chemistry gels nicely throughout the majority of the film. A few slips and failed retorts interrupt the flow of their characters' progressions, but are quickly forgotten in the grand scheme. Alan Arkin furnishes several of the funniest moments in the movie and the Academy Award-winning actor never misses a beat when the camera turns his way. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson again confirms his status as a reliable comedic presence and laudably supports the leads. Many interesting cameos perforate the film, and while they're amusingly recognizable, they're also regrettably wasted. Few draw laughs with clever dialogue or comedic prowess, but rather produce a quick smile for those that get the reference or enjoy the recognition.
The humor throughout Get Smart always orbits around Carell and his singular style of comedy. Those that don't take a liking to his brand of wit will undoubtedly be less amused, as he is clearly the driving force behind the vast majority of the entertainment value present. While Carell's lines are rarely delivered without a magnetic humor, many of the conversations lose their luster midway, due to faltering dialogue and a lack of focus on creating the biggest laughs. Several of the extravagant set-pieces end with many a missed opportunity to supply more hilarity, and lots of little laughs spread the truly uproarious moments too thin. While a healthy dose of romance, drama, and some truly spectacular action scenes appears commendable, the devotion to these components often shortchanges the comedy.
From exotic locales to storm drains, and Moscow to Disney Hall, the action and humor follows Maxwell Smart at breakneck speed. A few feeble gags and missed chances at grand hilarity can't ruin the fun; and while they might have "missed it by just that much," it's not enough to detract from Carell's dynamic performance and the inspired comedy that trails closely behind.
- The Massie Twins
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As I was watching Get Smart, I came to the delighted realization that
the filmmakers weren't trying to do a spy spoof here, but rather a
loving tribute to spy movies with a lot of comedy thrown in. This is
the right approach, as the now-tired Austin Powers franchise has pretty
much run the spy spoof idea into the ground. Director Peter Segal (a
veteran of many past Adam Sandler comedies) tries and succeeds at doing
something rare. Get Smart is silly enough to work as a comedy, but at
the same time, contains some truly impressive action sequences that
would be right at home in just about any summer blockbuster that had a
slightly more serious mind.
I cannot claim to be an expert on the original 1960s TV series created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, but I do have enough knowledge to know that this is a fitting and loving tribute that won't insult fans of the show, or alienate newcomers with countless in-jokes. The casting of Steve Carell as the well-meaning and often bungling secret agent, Maxwell Smart, was a great decision. Carell is able to capture the spirit of the performance of late actor, Don Adams, while not trying to ape Adams' distinctive voice and mannerisms. He fits comfortably into the role, and does not make Smart into an incompetent goof. He plays the part as a man with some obvious intelligence, but things don't often go the way he intends. It's a very likable comic performance, and Carell even gives the character a lot more personality than I expected walking into the film.
As is expected, the plot is mainly something to hang a lot of situations for Smart to be in over his head. He starts off as an analyst for CONTROL, a top secret government spy organization devoted to thwarting the terrorist designs of the evil organization KAOS. Smart dreams of being a field agent, and has even taken the test eight separate times, only to be turned down each time by the Chief (Alan Arkin), who thinks Smart belongs as an analyst. When KAOS launches a surprise attack on CONTROL headquarters, killing most of the field agents, the Chief has no choice but to promote Smart, and send him off on the latest mission. He is teamed up with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) to travel to Russia and uncover a secret weapons factory where the evil organization is developing nuclear weapons to target America. With the aid of Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson) back at the base, Smart and Agent 99 will attempt to stop head KAOS agent, Sigfried (Terrence Stamp), from carrying out his master plan of destruction.
Get Smart is breezy, frequently very funny, and never once slows down enough to become dull. This is one of those movies where you can tell that the cast is having a great time, and that joy carries through on the screen. The movie is a comedy, but the action scenes and stunt work on display are truly first rate. What's perhaps most impressive is that the movie finds a perfect way to blend the silliness and the spectacle, so that the two halves never seem out of place. The entire cast play the comedy as if they are smart people who can't believe what they've just done, or what is happening to them. This is a comedy that laughs with the characters, not at them. There's a scene where Maxwell and Agent 99 have to crash a lavish party being thrown by a suspected enemy agent, and Smart winds up dancing with an obese woman. A lesser movie would have mocked the woman, but here, the movie finds humor in the situation in other ways. The fact that the woman winds up with the final laugh, and that it's not at her expense, was very welcome.
Aside from the very strong lead from Carell, Anne Hathaway brings a certain sexy yet vulnerable charm to her role. She's a good match for him as a co-star, and they create a good "buddy" chemistry as the film goes on. They're slightly less successful when they're asked to bring romantic chemistry into the relationship, but it's not really their fault, since the film does seem to be trying to start a franchise, so I'm sure there's time for it to build in a sequel. Former pro-wrestler Dwayne Johnson drops his "the Rock" title for the first time, meaning he's finally serious about moving beyond his past and becoming a real actor. He manages to get some laughs here, and even has some charisma, leading me to believe he could be the rare wrestler to move onto an actual career in films. There are even some fun cameos, including James Caan as the President of the United States, and Bill Murray turns up as a fellow field agent who has the unfortunate task of having to pose as a tree while undercover. There are some more to look for, some for fans of the original show and some for fans of Saturday Night Live, but I'll leave those for you to discover yourself.
Get Smart is probably one of the stronger TV-to-film adaptations to come along in a while. It's not Earth-stopping entertainment, and it never pretends to be. It's merely a light and simple summer comedy that's a great way to kill an afternoon. We need those during the summer as much as we need the big blockbusters, so it's fortunate that this is a very good one. And despite the film's PG-13 rating, I can't imagine any parent being offended by letting their kid watch it. Get Smart is harmless and entertaining, and sometimes, that's all a movie needs to be.
The first 10 minutes or so of "Get Smart" are kind of disappointing,
and I thought "here we go, another trailer that makes the film look
better than it is". But it improves greatly after that point, mainly
after the first encounter of Max with Agent 99. Anne Hathaway is in
some ways the life of this movie: she is incredibly sexy, with a
magnificent back and legs to die for (or by), and completely believable
in all her action scenes. Steve Carell has good comic timing; he may at
times remind you of Leslie Nielsen in "The Naked Gun" and "Spy Hard"
mode, but beyond that he manages to make Max a genuinely likable and
human character, not just a cartoon. The relationship Max and 99 have
formed at the end of the movie seems to be based more on friendship
than anything else. The rest of the cast is generally well-chosen
(although I didn't get the point of Bill Murray's 1-minute cameo);
there is a big plot twist that allows one cast member to play against
type, and even Dalip Singh (aka The Great Khali in WWE) comes off well,
playing a huge indestructible henchman in the tradition of Jaws of "The
Spy Who Loved Me" and "Moonraker".
There are some good laughs in "Get Smart", but what pleasantly surprised me is how well-done the action is. From an exhilarating freefall sequence that was probably designed as a homage to the opening of "Moonraker" to Carell's and Hathaway's quick, efficient fight scenes (choreoghraphed by a veteran at this sort of thing, James Lew), and from the explosions at the "bakery" factory to the incredibly kinetic final chase sequence involving various means of transportation, the action in this movie probably surpasses the recent James Bond pictures, helped by the fact that a lot of it seems to have been done by the actors themselves, willing to take some risks. So people who are more into action than into comedy should still get some satisfaction out of this.
Nothing brilliant, but a dependable crowd-pleaser nonetheless. I'd give it *** out of 4 stars.
Whether you watched the show during its original run, caught it in reruns over the years like I did, or you are a very recent fan of the series like my 9 year old son who watches all the seasons and original movies repeatedly, you will laugh hysterically at this movie. Just about every agent and character from the original series is here, from Agent 13 who gets stuffed in the oddest places to Fang, Max's dog from season one. The dialog, the gags, and the characters are pure Get Smart. I do not believe anyone could have come into Don Adams shoe phone better than Steve Carell. He perfectly carries off the almost debonair, yet not as clever as he thinks he is Agent 86. Anne Hathaway (who looks breathtaking in black leather) was awesome as Agent 99, completely playing the seasoned agent to Max's bumbling. Alan Arkin, Dwayne Johnson, and Terrance Stamp round out a great cast. I just hope though in the next movie we see more Hymie, one of my all time favorite characters. My family and I have been waiting over a year since the first trailer was shown for this movie,and it was well worth the wait. We will be seeing it many times over.
The new "Get Smart" does a masterful job of capturing the style, tone
and humor of the '60s series, while transporting it into a modern
sensibility. I had hopes for this film after seeing the two leads doing
a 30-second skit on the Academy Awards show and thought they were dead
on. So I invested $11.50 and was proved right.
First, this is no cheap knockoff. The production team captured Buck Henry's creation very credibly both in tone and substance. It reminded me very much of the late '80s homage to "Dragnet," which was executed with love and great attention to detail (right down to the product placement of Camel cigarettes and a photo of Jack Webb on the Dan Akroyd's desk). It's no small feat updating something as much a part of its era into a modern sensibility. There were even echoes of the early James Bond films (especially in The Rock's ladykiller character flirting with CONTROL's "Miss Moneypenny" and in some of the musical cues). On the other hand, the production values were all first-rate and contemporary, including a CGI effect of an aerial fly-around and push-in to a 747 that was reminiscent of the key shot in the pilot of Star Trek.
Steve Carrell makes a very reasonable Agent 86; where Don Adams played the character as a bumbling naif, Carrell makes him into a goodhearted wannabe who, despite having the kind of personality that renders him invisible in society, still has intelligence and an earnestness that can make him into hero material when he works at it. He reminded me of Jim Varney's portrayal of Jed Clampett: pure of heart and belief in his fellow man, yet with a bit of chops in dealing with the dark side of society. He fumbles around a lot getting his sea legs after years of being an ineffectual fatso (viz. impetuously slamming a fire extinguisher into the noggin of his boss at one point) but in a pinch, he's quickwitted and moves with decision. (He also quite reasonably feels more secure in briefs than boxer shorts; I don't know what Adam's take on this issue was).
On the other hand, Anne Hathaway nails Agent 99 with a performance absolutely capturing Barbara Feldon's creation, right down to the tone of voice, the raised eyebrows, and at least three different dead-on intonations of "Oh, Max!" Nevertheless, Hathaway moves the character beyond the pre-feminist liberation era and invests 99 with a believable 21st century sexuality and sense of empowerment. She's clearly in charge during the first half of the movie, only slowly yielding to an appreciation of Carrell's growing sense of command (and her own feelings toward him) as we move into Act 3.
Alan Arkin brings an odd turn to the Chief, playing him with a much-less-exasperated fatalism than did Edward Platt. In an interview, Arkin says he saw the character as a very good principal of a very bad middleschool. He comes across as a somewhat old codger closing in on retirement who's comfortably in charge and doesn't try to micromanage, and he has an important role in the climax piloting a Cessna over Disney Hall downtown, but I missed one of the catchlines they didn't include in this revision: namely, the Chief getting one of his headaches. (The other catchline they left out was 86's frequent "That's the second biggest (fill in the blank) I've ever seen.")
Everything else was there, though: We see the Cone of Silence (technologically updated), a very clever CGI revision of the entrance passage to CONTROL HQ, cameos by both Hymie the Robot and Fang, and there's even a passing utilization in this cellphone-obsessed society to the shoe-phone (appropriated from the Smithsonian institution display of the old "defunct" CONTROL). On the other hand, the agency is now under the Homeland Security Department and answers to the Vice President (when they can find him) and uses lots of high-tech, satellite surveillance and GPS gear. Chaos is in cahoots with terrorist organizations around the world and we know they're bad because they drive around in SUVs (the most satisfying and "green" event is seeing one of Satan's Sedans being demolished by a freight train).
Oh, and BTW, it's also a love story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In yet another miserable attempt to make a quick Hollywood cash-in of
one of televisions greatest masterpieces, Peter Segal has created a
monster. Taken out of context, if one did not know Brooks' work before
viewing, the movie would be a lame big budget film that isn't sure if
it wants to be fat joke and stupid comedy, or just an ordinary action
film with nothing to move on. However, as a young generation Y'er who
just recently spent two months obsessing over the five seasons of Get
Smart, the 60's TV show, this movie pained me from the moment I entered
and saw Steve Carell dumbing down the part. The backstories, agent 99
getting plastic surgery and 86 as an analyst who was formerly morbidly
obese, shames the complexity of the original duo and paints a flat
boring reevaluation of them. It seems the screenwriters, unable to be
truthfully funny in both dialogue and situation, fell back on lame
set-ups for Don Adams famous lines, flashbacks to fat camp, references
to Carell's part in the office in the interview style camera angles
they have, and a female chauvinism that falls flat on its face.
For those who have seen the original, the writers of this movie thought they'd include some memories. They mention Herbie, Fang (now a worthless tiny furry dog that Carell covets), the shoe phone, the cone of silence, and his classic red car and the doors and phone that intro'd the show. The classic music is back, but now everything is updated, generally for the worse. Cone of silence is now some weird blue telekinetic force field, control headquarters are right under a museum that preserves Control's past. The movie lacks any creative random tech, and replaces it with crossbows in swiss army knives. Lots of the "humor" in the movie is Carrel hurting himself, or another character being hurt, whether it be carrel spending two minutes shooting himself accidentally with the crossbow, or getting punched by security guards, or throwing up in airplanes. In the original, Smart would insult a big foe, attack him with no success, and try to buddy up with him before getting pulverized. In this one, he attacks without success and gets pummeled. It seems the screenwriters didn't understand the humor was established with the dialogue and not the pointless violence. It's like they took the names from the show, and cut out all that made it good in the first place.
The poster hides Carell's face beyond that of Hathaway's. The movie likewise, shies away from anything that could make it good. They intertwine the classic music with the over-dramatic action and romantic music in big-budget films. Whereas the original fed off a campy feel, this one replaces quality with massive doses of cgi explosions and pow sound effects. I was really looking forward to this, as I finished the original series just two months ago and it ranked in my top five shows of all time. However, this was a massive disappointment. The credits say they collaborated with Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, but in all the things I've read on the internet, they were largely left out of the writing process. In conclusion, if you want to waste your money on a cash-in with little value and no respect to its namesake, go for it. But be prepared that the ride is not how you remembered it.
PS: I almost forgot the George Bush humor. They mention "Nuculor", falling asleep at fine art, President's working for their vice pres, and appreciating tackles over solving real problems. If you're into hearing the same jokes you heard 3-4 years ago in big budget movie form, chuck your money here.
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