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Get Smart (2008): A 4 out of 10 Movie Review

Submitted by on July 11, 2008 – 2:15 pmNo Comment

I really haven’t been looking forward to this review. It is important for movies to evoke emotions whilst you watch. Unfortunately there are too many that evoke nothing. Not one chuckle, tear or scream. These are the most difficult to review. When asked “what did you think of the movie”, you have to respond with something better than “it was okay”. At least Speed Racer evoked emotions. Okay, so they were very negative emotions, but the fact is even negative emotions can be written about. Ambivalent feelings towards a movie are not a good thing. Get Smart made me feel just that.

Get Smart “stars” Steve Carell (40 Year old Virgin, Evan Almighty) and Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries, Brokeback Mountain). Okay I cannot go any further without mentioning the size of this ’s teeth! They massive! I mean there are Cheshire grins and Hollywood smiles but Christ Almighty this woman could use a whole tube of Colgate a day to clean those babies! This of course is not a bad thing since it is always nice to see a smile. Unfortunately, when the glint from her mouth area is so bright and covers most of your vision, you’d think she’d need some sort of entry into the Highway Code such as: “Please be aware that Anne Hathaway’s teeth may possible induce temporary blindness. Suitable slowing procedures should be enforced when driving near her”. Ahem. Anyway the movie also stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (when are we all going to drop “The Rock” from his name? It’s getting a bit silly now isn’t it?), Terence Stamp, the lovable Japanese dude from Heroes (Masi Oka), Dalip Singh and not forgetting a cameo by Bill Murray.

The whole of this film as if the casting director had never existed. Carell was born to play Agent 86 (he’s been playing him for most of his career), Hathaway (you’d think) was born to play an attractive female assistant who can pout and basically act like a spoiled (by pouting though, her lovely teeth are mostly obscured), Terence Stamp plays the bad guy (no surprise there then), Bill Murray plays a tree, or at least an agent in a tree (it seems to suit him), Dwayne Johnson plays the super agent with a soft spot for the hapless Maxwell Smart(a role he seems to into perfectly). Then finally we have Dalip Singh. I bet you are sitting here and trying to figure out who this individual is. He starred in Adam Sandler’s remake of The Longest Yard (a role played originally by Jaws aka Richard Kiel). At the time I had mentioned that Mr Singh would be the best individual to play the new Jaws (if the Bond makers are bold enough to make that move). The man is massive, scary and in truth looks like Kiel. In Get Smart, Dalip Singh plays the character similar to Jaws. This completes the casting and as you can see, each of the actors should fit the relevant parts perfectly. A special note goes out to the head of CONTROL played by Alan Arkin. His scenes with him willing to throw himself into a fight with the big bad CIA (or was it FBI?) were absolutely hilarious.

As a younger man, watching re-runs of Get Smart (starring Don Adams) on the was akin to watching the 60’s TV series of Batman (with Adam West). I didn’t love it, I rarely laughed, and I was often embarrassed. Nevertheless, due to the time it was always on (Saturday and Sunday mornings), I used to watch. After a while, Stockholm Syndrome set in and I started to enjoy the programme. Only after intense amount of therapy, a breakdown and an event in my life that I can only describe as my “Banana smoking stage” I have realised that I didn’t actually like the programme. Along the same lines of this then, was Get Smart. I think the coolest thing in it was the car and the funniest part was always the end scene where Maxwell Smart attempts to fix the broken door (and it wasn’t even that funny).

So I was watching a movie about a TV series that I felt I had to watch and never liked. This was not a good start. Watching the remake made me feel like I’ve been here before. I have! Johnny English took us to embarrassing failures along with and lest we not forget the that was the remake of the Pink Panther. So what does Get Smart have above these others? Well The Rock of course. He seems to be the funniest character in the movie. Somehow his charisma is countered perfectly with his clumsiness.

Bruce and Lloyd (of which there is an awful spin-off DVD available) seem characterless. This is such a shame as Masi Oka plays a better “Q” type character in Heroes than he does in this movie. It is as if he put too much effort into his performance and the director told him to calm himself down or get out. Such a shame.

So we suffer almost an hour of jokes that have been used and used again in promotional videos and trailers (for the movie) along with Hathaway’s character being all “stressy” before we are offered the traditional “dance through the laser grid” scene where Hathaway and her teeth show us all how to “get down on it” and “strut our stuff”. Well to be fair I would have no intention of dancing with a girl so suggestive (in the movie). She spends a good twenty seconds with her backside pointing in the air as if she’s using it as some sort of beacon. Is this movie for families or dads? Let’s be honest the promise of Hathaway’s posterior in the air and teeth in the floor is enough to get most of you off the sofa and straight down to your local theater, but be warned: Too much eye make-up + Steve Carell +mediocre acting + a twenty year age difference = NO CHEMISTRY AT ALL…..EVER…. When they do finally eventually kiss, you feel like you are witnessing one of those embarrassing Christmas kisses you get off your Grandmother. It’s just nasty!

Sadly the movie was 15 minutes too long, had an unnecessary and uncomfortable “romantic” subplot, made me laugh a total of three times and was embarrassing (but retained the charm of the original). If they had replaced Anne Hathaway, they would have accurately recreated the TV series. If their intention was to accurately recreate the nightmare that was Get Smart, you’d think they would have taken a look at the age gap between Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 (9 years). You’d think then, that the perfect actress to play Agent 99 convincingly would be either: Denise Richards, Rachel Weisz or Winona Ryder (all of which are nine years younger than Carell).

The fact is I cared nothing for this film. I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t love it. It’s one of those mediocre movies that sits bang in the middle which appeals to people of a certain age (possibly including the Welsh) and very few others. It won’t destroy your childhood memories to watch Get Smart. In fact, it may make the nightmares come back again after a 10 year hiatus.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hathaway lost the movie 1 complete point)

Have you seen Get Smart? Was it everything that you had hoped for? Why is the man from (Ken Davitian) always in these movies anyway? Let me know your thoughts on the matter and perhaps we can go for a bit of group therapy together.

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