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Get Smart – Movie review

Written By : JONATHAN BRYCE . Based on the popular 1960s television comedy series of the same name, ‘Get Smart’ is a movie that is filled with a great deal
12 Jul 2008 12:00

image Written By : JONATHAN BRYCE . Based on the popular 1960s television comedy series of the same name, ‘Get Smart’ is a movie that is filled with a great deal of laughter and fun, but still contains a lot of action expected for a spy-themed movie. Since its opening, the film has drawn a lot of people to watch the humorous antics of its iconic main character, Maxwell Smart, played by Golden Globe winning comedic actor Steve Carell. The film also features the acting talents of Anne Hathaway, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Terence Stamp, Masi Oka and Academy Award winner Alan Arkin.
Like its 1960s television series, the movie is focused on the bumbling works of a talented, yet clumsy and sometimes incompetent secret agent who fights against a mysterious terrorist organisation called KAOS. Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, who created the original 1960s series, were credited as executive consults for the film and its story.
The movie begins with Maxwell Smart in his job as an analyst for a secret government taskforce called CONTROL, which is in pursuit of stolen nuclear explosives. CONTROL is run by Alan Arkin’s character, an old fashion former agent who is codenamed, The Chief.
Their organisation is made up of two types of operatives; their field agents who are strong-figured men and women such as Agent 23 played by Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson and their analysts which are made up of nerd-like people such as Maxwell Smart.
Max Smart is a man who dreams of one day becoming a field agent and has often taken their numerous training tests to become one. When KAOS strikes at the CONTROL headquarters, the identities of all CONTROL’s undercover secret agents and their missions are compromised.
In order to strike back, the Chief had decided to send out two agents whose identities were still kept secret from their enemies. Believing in Maxwell Smart’s potential, the Chief gives him the codename, Agent 86 and partners him with Agent 99 played by Anne Hathaway.
The two agents eventually set out to find KAOS and retrieve the stolen nuclear explosives. Both Smart and Agent 99 soon encounter and battle a number of KAOS agents including a giant-like Indian enforcer played by professional wrestler Dalip ‘The Great Khali’ Singh. The odd couple interactions between Hathaway and Carell’s characters are quite hilarious resulting either from Smart’s inexperience or from his surprising worthwhile talents.
This odd couple function is present almost everywhere whether they are falling from a plane, involved in a car chase or simply walking to their destination.
The plot takes the film to many locations from Washington to Moscow to Los Angeles. So much of the humor comes from Steve Carell’s performance as he stays true to the character’s accident prone antics, use of his 1960s catch phrases as well as his little bag of tricks to get the job done.
However, a great deal of his performance sees Carell bringing his own style of humor to the role, but Carell’s comedic performances are not the only ones in the film. A lot of it also comes from actors Nate Torrence and Masi Oka who play Smart’s fellow nerd-like analysts, Lloyd and Bruce. Also adding to the comedy is Ken Davitian who is known in Hollywood for his role in the movies Borat and Meet the Spartans.
Davitian plays KAOS’ second in command next to its primary villain, Siegfried portrayed by veteran actor Terence Stamp.
Anne Hathaway performs well for her first high level action comedy. Her fashionable on-screen style and grace make her reminiscent of a young Audrey Hepburn. Comedic director Peter Segal who made films like ‘The Longest Yard’ and ‘50 First Dates’ directs the film and balances the necessary amount of humor with the right amount of action packed sequences.
Just like its original 1960s television series, the film brings about a slight feeling about the parodying of famous spy films, in particular the James Bond series. While Smart and Agent 99 are somewhat parodies of James Bond and his female Russian counterpart agents, Dalip ‘The Great Khali’ Singh’s character is much like the metal toothed Richard Kiel character, Jaws from the early Bond movies. KAOS and Siegfried are reminiscent of multiple Bond villains and organisations.
These parodies worked as the humorous elements for the 1960s series just as it does for the film and ultimately makes it a just worthy portrayal of its original TV series story. Get Smart is a funny and wild action packed ride that will keep people laughing and on the edge of their seats.

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