Get Smart (2008)

Get Smart (2008)

Director: Peter Segal

Cast: Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart / Agent 86, Anne Hathaway as Agent 99, Dwayne Johnson as Agent 23, Alan Arkin as The Chief, Terence Stamp as Siegfried, Terry Crews as Agent 91, David Koechner as Larabee, James Caan as The President, Bill Murray as Agent 13, Patrick Warburton as Hymie, Masi Oka as Bruce, Nate Torrence as Lloyd, Ken Davitian as Shtarker, David S. Lee as Krstic, Dalip Singh as Dalip

Yes, go see this movie. I know sometimes a preview looks pretty good
and then the movie stinks (hello, Indiana Jones?) but this one does not

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

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!

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