Friday, January 24, 2014

Get Smart (2008) [PG-13] ***

After Control's Headquarters is attacked and nearly destroyed, and the identities of its secret field agents are compromised, analyst Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) is renamed Agent 86 and assigned to the field. The clumsy, incompetent Smart and his beautiful but deadly partner Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) are assigned the task of getting into KAOS headquarters outside of Moscow, finding out where the stolen nuclear material is located and neutralizing the threat.

If you expect the innocent charm and quirky humor of the classic Get Smart TV series, you may be disappointed. The main characters only vaguely resemble their TV series counterparts, and the supporting talents of Alan Arkin (as Chief of Control) and Terence Stamp (as KAOS' Siegfried) are wasted. Since the screenplay is completely derivative, the film works best as a satire on the entire genre of espionage thrillers; you'll see Hathaway sensuously slithering under laser beams, reprising Catherine Zeta-Jones' scene in Entrapment, as well as Carell setting little bombs in a nuclear material facility, reprising Pierce Brosnan's scene in GoldenEye. And, of course, there's the formal-dress ball scene found in any one of several James Bond films. 

While Steve Carell may be excellent at straight comedy, he's still developing as an action/comedy hero, although if your taste in action/comedy includes films like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me then you probably will be satisfied with Get Smart. Finally, given the nineteen-year, father-daughter age difference between Carell and Hathaway (Carell was born in 1963, Hathaway in 1982), the romantic subplot between the two characters is best appreciated as part of the satire, otherwise it may make you feel uncomfortable. 

Labels: action, adventure, comedy, satire, spy

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 54/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=55, viewers=72)

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