Writer: Cammy ZulkifliWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"The Tuxedo", "Johnny English", "Pink Panther"
If there is one thing that stood out like a sore thumb in "Get Smart", it's that it's a distinctly Steve Carell film. The film is a remake of the popular 60's TV show of the same name. Taking in bits and pieces of the beloved show, the film is merely an updated version with Carell playing the epitomic role of Maxwell "Max" Smart, although bearing little semblance to the original character in the series played by Don Adams other than the fact that both bear the same name.
In this remake, Max is an enthusiastic and efficient analyst for CONTROL - a secret government organisation who's at odds with its nemesis KAOS. Carell carries Max with creative abandon, infusing his own brand of "The Office"-like humour which carefully ignores everything we've come to love about the character in the TV series. Adams made Max aloof from insults, but yet with a savant-like quality that triumphs every time, but Carell has made over the beloved secret agent to seem like an entirely different person altogether. In fact, this wouldn't have been a "Get Smart" remake if it wasn't for a few recognisable themes and characters from the series.
As a hard-working and previously overweight agent, Max excels as an analyst for CONTROL but longs to be out on the field doing stealthy infiltrations and dodging bullets. His big break came when the identities of CONTROL's agents were compromised, and the organisation had no choice but to deploy new agents consisting of himself along with the fresh-from-under-the-knife veteran Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), to put a stop to KAOS' assassination attempt on the President.
Together, both Smart and Agent 99 begin with a love-hate relationship which sprouted from the fact that they both have different methods of getting a job done. The careful and by-the-book Smart is undermined by the experienced Agent 99, and though Agent 99 is gracefully deadly, Hathaway is far too demure and bland to carry her character's weight. The Agent 99 from the 60's played by Barbara Feldon possesses a more colourful personality but has now been translated as uptight and prudent, although infinitely a more independent 21st century woman who has a taste for Chanel. Since this is a comedy flick, the large gap between the original characters and the ones in the film is easily forgiven, although not desirable by most standards.
A majority of the laughs and humour come from our hero Max (or specifically Carell), equally supported by characters like super Agent 23 (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), CONTROL's Chief (Alan Arkin) and small appearance by Masi Oka and an even smaller appearance by Bill Murray. Playing Smart's arch nemesis is Terence Stamp as Siegfried, whose bad-guy persona is literally wasted underneath the weight of the budding relationship between Smart and Agent 99 which takes up a majority of the plot.
However, the film will incur a lot of laughs associated with Carell's dialogue and performance. His dry sense of humour is omnipresent, creating a thoroughly enjoyable flick which rises above the few jokes which have become stale and should be thrown away for good - we certainly don't need more people bumping into walls to tickle ourselves.
The telephone shoe makes a nostalgic return (this time preserved in a glass box) along with other 60's "Get Smart" paraphernalia. Max also drives the bright red Sunbeam, albeit only for two minutes, but the fans will connect with just one scene that correlates the film and the TV series - Max entering the headquarters with high-tech steel doors shutting behind him is one of the most memorable scenes from 60's TV. While it comes across as a little Clouseau meets "Johnny English", the film is definitely more entertaining and action-packed (think "Mission: Impossible" action-packed) than most spy comedy flicks of recent times.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008