Saturday, August 6, 2011

Get Smart (2008)

A Fun Spy Spoof

- The 2008 comedy Get Smart is continually gets compared to its 1960s TV show predecessor (that's right fellow ignorant Generation Yers and beyond, this film is based off of the 1960s "Get Smart" TV show), and that makes sense since it is the film adaptation of that show. However, there are many people (such as myself) who have never seen one minute of one episode of the Don Adams TV show. So for the many people like me, there will be no comparing 2008's Get Smart to the old TV show - and in taking an exclusive look at the film, I personally find it to include a large share of stupidity while being pretty funny overall.

Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) has dreamed about becoming a secret agent for a secret U.S. government agency called Control and finally gets his chance - though it is not under the most ideal of circumstances. He is a very smart and capable guy but he is also quite inept at the same time, which, of course, leads to the largest amount of the film's comedy.

Get Smart includes many funny parts throughout its entirety that are mainly due to Steve Carell's portrayal of Maxwell Smart. Max is faced with many different challenges throughout the film and he ends up being a buffoon as he is trying to do something about them most of the time. Being a buffoon is Carell's calling in life and he naturally excels as this dumbass secret agent. I have not always been thrilled with Carell - I have never been a fan of the American version of "The Office" and few Carell-starred films outside of The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) have made me laugh - but I really enjoyed his performance here in this film. Carell is not called upon to rely on as much shock humor or stupidity throughout the whole film as he usually is (though it is still there) and I think it helps make him a better comedic actor. In Get Smart, Carell is straight-up yet subtle in his comedic delivery and has rarely been better.

Most of the rest of the cast do a fine job but most just step aside for Carell: Anne Hathaway does her job perfectly (looking hot) as Agent 99, Dwayne Johnson is pretty funny as Control's star Agent 23, and Terence Stamp is tamely evil as the #1 guy on Control's Wanted List: Siegfried.

While the film has plenty of things that entertain, a lot of lackluster or just plain dumb aspects exist as well. Instances of déjà vu are scattered throughout the film like a four year-old with chickenpox - many scenes are taken directly from James Bond and other action films, for example. Also, some of the humor is just painfully unfunny. More than one joke dies a horrible death and adolescent pot shots at then-President Bush grew tiresome long ago.

While some of the misfired attempts at humor bog the film down, some of the actors are really bad as well. It was really difficult  to watch Alan Arkin in his role as The Chief, being wooden as can be and continuing to make people everywhere wonder even more how he managed to ever win an Oscar. Also, David Koechner continues to do what he does best (or worst, depending on how you look at it): being not funny in the least. I do not understand it.... How does this guy keep getting work? Who decided he was funny? Koechner performs his usual overweight and over-aged frat boy routine to new highs in comedic pestilence here in Get Smart - and, wow, do you ever wish he wasn't.

Still, even though it has some truly mindless moments and unbelievably unfunny bits, Get Smart is a pretty fun comedic romp with Steve Carell. I probably will not be first in line to see "Get Smarter" though, should one ever come about.

CBC Rating: 6/10

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