Published on June 20th, 2008 | by simeon0
In the post Cold-War era the focus on national security has changed from focusing on Eastern Block adversaries to terror cells and state sponsored terrorism. For the agents of the ultra secret agency Control, the demise of their arch nemesis KAOS was the signal that they had ceased to be important in the world of today and had shut down when in truth they just went further into a cloak of secrecy and continued their mission.
In the new movie “Get Smart” audiences are given a new interpretation of the classic Mel Brooks/Buck Henry series that started Don Adams and Barbra Feldon as a pair of secret agents tasked with saving the world.
This time out Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway star Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 as they are forced to work with one another following a devastating attack on Control headquarters which results in the exposure of their operatives worldwide.
With no agents having the required anonymity needed to perform covert missions, the Chief of Control (Alan Arkin), is forced to promote eager intelligence analyst Smart to the ranks of field agent and pairs him with Agent 99 who is still able to maintain her guise thanks to some prep work she had done for a prior assignment.
To say that 99 is not thrilled to be paired with Smart would be an understatement, as she sees the eager Smart to be an unproven liability and one that would likely cause the failure of the mission and kill both of them.
Since the ultra suave Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson), is unable to work in the field, Smart and Agent 99 are forced to work with one another as they head off to Russia to get to the bottom of the weapons threat and hopefully follow the trail to the ultimate threat, Siegfried (Terrance Stamp), who is the brains behind an all new wave of terror that only Agent 99 and Smart can stop.
The film starts out slowly, but eventually finds its rhythm and does a decent job of blending comedy and action. Hathaway and Carell do a great job with the material as both roles require a degree of physicality that they have not shown in previous works.
The laughs on the film are constant, but they are off the more dumb humor comedy as nobody will mistake this film as a piece of high comedy. Which is not to say this is a bad thing as Carell is very likeable as Smart and while he portrays the character differently than did the late Don Adams; he maintains the goofy competence that his character requires as despite being a goofball, he does get the job done in the end.
The fine supporting work by Arkin and Johnson as well as a good amount of cameos lead to the fun of the film.
It is important to note that this is not a retelling of the original series that ran from 1965-1970 but a completely new interpretation of the series which has been updated to reflect the modern setting yet contains plenty of winks to the show that inspired it.
While many of the series catch phrases seem out of place in the film, I found myself enjoying the new film despite being a fan of the original series.
Some have leveled criticism that the film has traded locker room humor, stupid comedy, and FX for the wit and inventiveness that made the original series so popular.
I found myself enjoying the new version of the film and enjoyed the performances of the characters and while not side splittingly funny, there were more than enough chuckles along the way to keep me entertained.
Here is hoping 86 and 99 will be back on the big screen for future missions.
3.5 stars out of 5.