>> Get Smart (7/10)

Get SmartMovies are products, especially Summer movies.  They’re designed specifically to make money by providing widely appealing entertainment for two hours in an air-conditioned environment.  They are perfectly timed for home video release at the start of the Christmas shopping season, so that these exercises in mass appeal can be given as gifts, and the giver doesn’t have to worry about whether ot not the receiver will like it, because, most everybody will probably like it.

Get Smart is a product movie.  It’s a calculated, manufactured film with a mass appeal cast and a recognizable brand name, virtually guaranteed to gross over $100 million, and then be fortgotten until the sequel comes out.  That’s barely even a criticism; it’s just the way the world works.  I can’t critize the sun rising in the morning any more than I can criticize Get Smart for being a mass appeal Summer product.

Steve Carrell is Maxwell Smart, a detail-oriented, accident prone pencil-pusher promoted to field agent status by the government covert ops group CONTROL (led by Alan Arkin as the Chief, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and David Koechner in supporting roles).  He’s paired with Agent 99 (beautiful Anne Hathaway) to stop the agents of CHAOS (played by Terence Stamp and The Great Khali) from blowing up the president with nuclear weaponry.

I was pleased to see that Smart wasn’t made into an idiot man-child for the movie version.  Carrell evokes the spirit of Don Adams in his performance without doing an impression.  The familiar catchphrases are uttered, we get to see the shoe phone in action, and there’s some good use of the old television Get Smart theme music.  The spirit of the piece feels right.  It’s silly, like the old show, and accessible to anyone that has ever seen a spy movie before.

However, it’s the Summer, so it’s got to be bigger, badder, and better than whatever else is out there, and director Peter Segal does try to pump up the action as much as he can.  It’s too bad so much energy was spent creating giant action scenes, because I can promise you that no one is going to see this and be talking about how cool it was to see Agent 99 go skydiving or the huge end chase between a propeller plane and an SUV.  People are going to talk about the funny parts, and the movie should’ve played to its cast’s strengths instead of trying so hard to be the must-see action-comedy event of the year.

Get Smart is an acceptable way to enjoy an air conditioned environment for two hours.  You will not be upset at all when you recieve this as a gift on DVD this Christmas.  That is not me saying this is a bad film.  This is me saying that this is what it is–an exercise in getting your money, in exchange for entertainment.  Everyone gets paid, everyone goes home happy.

7 on a 1 to 10 scale

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1 Comment

  1. I’m glad that somebody is appealing to the masses. I totally enjoyed the time spent in the theater for this movie. Steven Carrell did a fantastic job. I remembered not only the forgotten parts of the original show, but the moments in my life when things were much simpler, in a “cold war” sort of way! 😀 … and I went home happy.


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