Sunday, July 13, 2008

Get Smart review

Occasionally I will write a "Mini-Featurette" on this blog, in between our "Feature Presentations." Today's is a review of the movie, Get Smart with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway.

Saturday, my husband and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary by taking in a movie and dinner. We were excited that the TV show we grew up on had been made into a movie, and prayed it wouldn't disappoint as so many remakes have a tendancy to do. (Dukes of Hazzard with Jessica Simpson? Come on!)

In the beginning, Max walks into a museum and admires three iconic items from the old CONTROL days. I had to wonder if these were the items that Don Adams, the actor who played Maxwell Smart in the '60s, used in the original television show. His shoe phone, his suit, and his red sports car were all on display and admired with respect by the new Max. Then he takes off down the corridor of slamming doors, (with one tiny glitch that made the walk uniquely Steve's) and disappears down the phone booth elevator, all to the tune of the original spy riff.

From a writer's stand point, this opening is brilliant. It lets the audience know that we are about to board a nostalgia ride, and that everything we loved as kids about this show will be treated with respect. Don't mess with the shoe phone! It ticks us baby-boomers off! Even their catch phrases -- "Missed it by that much." and "Oh, Max." -- are delightful to hear coming out of these new faces. Well done!

The plot is strong, with the goal, motivation, and conflict firmly in place for both of the main characters. I was happy to see that, as sometimes these remakes simply drag out a half-hour show to 2 hours. There was only one lame scene with one of the villains, but it had been set up so wasn't a surprise. I would have hoped for something stronger considering the rest of the story. However, it didn't ruin the movie for me.

Steve Carell is exactly the right person to play Agent 86, with his clean-cut looks and slight build. Anne Hathaway is perfect for Agent 99, although I had my doubts before seeing the movie. Even though I've seen her in other things, she'll always be a princess to me. However, she hadn't been on screen long before I was totally believing her as an athletic spy. And even though she doesn't look like Barbara Feldon, except for those enormous eyes, she manages to resemble the svelte actress about halfway through the movie as the two characters attend a fancy ball (given by the bad guy, of course.) Anne wears a 60's style brunette wig, bobbed at the chin ala her predecessor, and a silver sequined dress that she must have been poured into. At that point, my believability factor rose ten points.

All-in-all, I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. This was a delightful movie, and my husband and I laughed out loud in the theater along with everyone else. However, in modernizing it, the writers added rude humor, mild sexual innuendos, and a brief nude scene (backside only,) so please be aware of this if you bring the kiddos. Had it not been for that, it would have recieved four stars from me.

To read more about the movie:
To read more about the television show:

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