June 21st, 2008

GET SMART (2008) ***

I could always take or leave the 60’s TV spy spoof (created by comedy legends Buck Henry and Mel Brooks) that this flick is based on, so it’s a surprise to announce that this new Get Smart is a lot of fun.  It’s a fast and funny action comedy with a great cast and is a perfect example of a well done summer popcorn movie.


Steve Carell fills in for Don Adams’ phone shoes as Maxwell Smart, a rookie spy for the top government agency CONTROL, who is out to stop a maniacal arms dealer from the sinister terrorist group KAOS (Terence Stamp) from blowing up the President.  Since he’s partnered with the no-nonsense, but dead sexy Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), Smart predictably falls head over heels for her.


Steve Carell’s brand of humor is perfectly suited to the material.  While he’s not the first person that immediately comes to mind when you think of the ideal Maxwell Smart, you’re always assured a good laugh or two whenever he’s getting himself into trouble.  Carell and Hathaway make a great team and their chemistry keeps the movie afloat during the occasional lulls.  The supporting cast includes The Rock (I refuse to call him by his Christian name), Alan Arkin (as The Chief), David Koechner, and even Bill Murray, all of whom have their moments.

As funny as Carell and Hathaway are, Get Smart works just as well as an honest to goodness spy movie as it does a comedy.  Director Peter (Naked Gun 33 1/3) Segal blows something up real good every twenty minutes or so, which is always a sign of a capable action director.  The skydiving scene in this flick is the best of it’s kind since Terminal Velocity, and the film also features the best Avoid the Red Alarm Laser scene since Entrapment.  The movie probably could’ve used another pass around the editing table (at 111 minutes, it’s probably about 11 minutes longer than necessary), but that shouldn’t stop you from thoroughly enjoying it.


Carell gets the best line of the movie when a hungry rat crawls up the front of his pants and he yells:  “That’s not cheese!”


Get Smart has enough explosions and laughs for it to land at the Number 8 spot on The Video Vacuum Top Ten for 2008, sandwiched in between The Forbidden Kingdom and The Ruins.