Friday, July 4, 2008

Get Smart (2008)

* * *

For the casual movie fan looking for a mindless summer diversion, Get Smart fires on all cylinders. Equal parts action and humor, the big screen adaptation pretty much picks up right in it's predecessor's footsteps. Starring Steve Carell, Get Smart starts before Maxwell Smart is promoted from analyst to special agent and details his first mission alongside Agent 99, played by Anne Hathaway. Carell essentially carries the movie on his shoulders and proves once again how extremely talented and versatile he is. Ten years ago, when this film was first pitched to studios, Jim Carrey was slotted to play the lead role, but Carell saves this questionable idea from being another pointless summer bust. The supporting cast was well chosen, including Alan Arkin as the Chief, James Caan as the president, and a cameo by Bill Murray. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stands out as Agent 23 in what is easily his funniest and most natural performance to date. The usually spot-on David Koechner, however, delivers a forced performance that seems too similar to his characters in Anchorman and the Office. The screen writing duo behind Get Smart are veteran TV writers and it shows as the film feels like a two hour prologue to the series. The humor is absurd but sharp, and some jokes will undoubtedly fly way over the target audience's head. There are some surprisingly raunchy jokes that will make even the most stubborn comedy fan laugh, but there are also too many lines that are completely predictable and sound like they were taken from a children's joke book. The action is up to modern standards, will impress action aficionados, and is far more over-the-top than anything ever seen in the series. Director Peter Segal has stood behind plenty of duds including Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, and the last of the Naked Gun series, but also directed the gem Tommy Boy. Get Smart falls somewhere in the middle, a bit closer to Tommy Boy. Segal rode Chris Farley to huge success, and will likely ride Carell into a big payday with the fun and funny Get Smart.

Good for: fans of the original series, Carell fans, casual movie fans

Bad for: people looking to think, uptight people

No comments: