Get Smart Review
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In the big-screen remake of the classic TV spy comedy, Get Smart, funnyman Steve Carell definitely has some big shoe-phones to fill. Carell stars as the brilliant but bumbling Maxwell Smart. Though he’s worked for secret agency CONTROL for years, he’s spent them behind a desk, analyzing information for the real stars: the field agents. He dreams of working in the field, but when he finally passes the agents’ exam, the Chief (Alan Arkin) won’t promote him—because he’s too valuable as an analyst.

When CONTROL’s headquarters is attacked—and the agents’ identities are compromised—Max finally gets his big break, working with veteran Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), whose identity is still safe, since she recently went under the knife. So the two head to Russia to track down Ladislas Krstic (David S. Lee), a known KAOS associate who’s suspected of manufacturing nuclear weapons.

  
 
Fans of the silly ‘60s TV show will be relieved to find that, for the most part, the new Get Smart stays true to its roots. It’s every bit as wacky and slapstick as the show—with just a few updates. Most noticeably, the relationship between Max and 99 has changed. On the show, Barbara Feldon’s 99 was definitely the brains behind the partnership—but she was perfectly happy to stand back and play the sweet and easy-going sidekick while Max took the credit. This time around, Carell’s Max may be smarter than his ‘60s counterpart, but he’s still just as bumbling. He’s also totally inexperienced as an agent—and veteran Agent 99 sees him for what he is: a clueless new guy.

As for the plot, it takes a definite backseat to the film’s general zaniness. As with most episodes of the TV show, it’s pretty simple: Max and 99 try to foil the bad guys’ diabolical plan. Some details along the way may not make a lot of sense, but, again, that’s not the point.

The point, you see, is the humor—and there’s definitely plenty to go around. If you love bad puns and physical humor, you’ll laugh until your sides ache. And while there are a few gross-out moments that I could have lived without, it’s generally pretty mild stuff—especially when you compare it to pretty much anything involving Judd Apatow.

Still, the humor would fall flat without the right cast. Carell seems to channel the spirit of Don Adams in his performance as the wacky but lovable Max—even though he adds his own style to the role. He’s silly but mercifully subdued—and I had no problem sitting through nearly two hours of his antics. And though Hathaway doesn’t quite have that Barbara Feldon flair, the rest of the supporting cast—from Dwayne Johnson as Agent 23 to Nate Torrence and Masi Oka as CONTROL’s resident geeks—only adds to the laughs.

With its clumsy characters and slapstick silliness, Get Smart feels like a classic comedy. So whether you’re fan of the TV show or not, it’s worth investigating.

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