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Overall Rating
3.32

Awesome: 5.66%
Worth A Look47.17%
Average: 28.3%
Pretty Bad: 11.32%
Total Crap: 7.55%

5 reviews, 23 user ratings


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Get Smart (2008)
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by brianorndorf

"Wasn't this supposed to be funny?"
3 stars

“Missed it by that much!” is the classic line from the “Get Smart” television series and could easily describe the latest big screen incarnation. A woefully uneven motion picture, “Smart” is a misfire, but not entirely ineffective.

When Siegfried (Terence Stamp), the leader of KAOS, engineers a massive plan to sell nuclear weapons to all of America’s enemies, it’s up to the agents of CONTROL to stop him. However, almost all of those agents have been assassinated, forcing The Chief (Alan Arkin) to promote analyst Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) to spy duty as Agent 86. Paired with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), the duo partake in a little globetrotting to sniff out KAOS’s plans, while a peculiar competitive/romantic chemistry forms between them. When matters go from bad to worse, it’s up to 86 and 99 to thwart KAOS’s evil scheme and save the world from certain doom.

Based on the marvelous 1960’s Bond satire show, the big screen “Get Smart” voyage has a devil of a time trying to decide what sort of film it wants to be. The television series was a slapstick creation, though frosted with black humor and now quaint cold war undertones. “Get Smart” the movie is trying to play by more predictable multiplex rules, and the result is a schizophrenic affair that reaches for belly laughs, shovels in famous references, and stages blow-em-up action choreography all at the same time.

Director Peter Segal is trying to pull off too much with “Smart.” It’s a complex take on a simplistic series, attempting to find some action heat beneath all the silliness. Segal certainly has great ideas for bullet-dodging set-pieces, but the picture indulges mayhem much too often, inadvertently handicapping Carell and the cast, who have the unfortunate task of keeping things light in a film that doesn’t allow much time for such luxuries.

A “Get Smart” movie without laughs? A strange concept, but one this feature almost achieves. Don’t get me wrong, Carell makes for a fine Smart, picking up nicely where Don Adams left off, though a resuscitation of Adams’s more famous catchphrases feels a little superfluous. Carell finds new verve inside of the character, removing his dim-wittedness and replacing the void with an intriguing confidence. The actor is home with Smart, sharing pleasing chemistry with Hathaway and Arkin (who nearly steals the movie) and, aside from the painful series references, makes the character his own. Granted, it’s a carb-panicky, anal analyst take on Smart, but it’s not a methodical piece of Adams mimicry, and that’s a blessing.

There are fragments of satisfying absurdity that poke through the smoke Segal leaves behind, but it’s not enough to make for a rewarding sit. “Smart” is chasing too many differing tones and nothing clicks, leaving the film a pile of unfinished moves. It’s a distracting aesthetic, lessening the impact of the comedy and action by trying to please every member of the audience.

Perhaps the television “Get Smart” wasn’t a diamond of quality, but there was a certain indefatigable silliness about it the film doesn’t know how to recreate. It forces the production to employ standard summer fare moves, and it robs this eager film of delight. “Get Smart” isn’t bad, just underwhelming, trying on too many tones without seeing any of them to satisfying conclusions.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17084&reviewer=404
originally posted: 06/21/08 00:29:34
[printer] printer-friendly format  
TV to Screen: For more in the TV to Screen series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2008 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/19/12 Gabrielle Barnard This is one of my favorite movies! Action, romance, comedy. Anne H is amazing. 5 stars
8/13/09 Jeff Wilder Amusing albeit lightweight. 4 stars
5/20/09 art TERRIBLE! 1 stars
5/19/09 mary m This is one the whole family can enjoy. 4 stars
1/17/09 Aesop This was a fantastic film on its own, and a fitting homage as well. 4 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. steve carell is consistently awesome. 4 stars
12/22/08 KingNeutron Enjoyed it a lot more than I thought - great way to reboot the series! 5 stars
12/21/08 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 4 stars
12/01/08 Sam Some funny moments but not great .. 3 stars
7/27/08 Samantha Pruitt funnier than i thought it was going to be 4 stars
7/27/08 christy i loved it, hathaway and carell were pretty good :] 4 stars
7/20/08 Richard Perfect match - Carell / Max - sadly fizzles. 3 stars
7/14/08 Karen Great movie! Hilarious! 5 stars
7/10/08 L. Slusarczyk Just watching the previews gives you most of the good parts. 3 stars
7/08/08 mary m I really loved Steve C in this. He was perfect as a bumbling spy. 4 stars
7/06/08 Jayson Steve Carell's deadpan humor works brilliantly in this funny spoof. 4 stars
7/02/08 mr.mike Fans of the series and/or S. Carrell will like it. 4 stars
7/01/08 dougo Old, tired, seen before jokes and gags 1 stars
6/25/08 Mark R Very good, much better than the snob reviews. And I'm picky. 4 stars
6/24/08 Roscoe Dumbed down for todays American audience. Boring even if you have half a brain. 1 stars
6/23/08 Steve Miller I enjoyed it quite a bit. 4 stars
6/23/08 Obi Wan I was forced to go and actually laughed! Hathway & Carroll were good! 4 stars
6/22/08 PAUL SHORTT THE CATCHPRASES REMAIN, BUT THE LOVE IS GONE 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-Jun-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-Nov-2008

UK
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Australia
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  DVD: 04-Nov-2008




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