Tuesday, June 17, 2008

GET SMART: Clever Remake

GET SMART (spy comedy)
Cast: Steve Carrell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Terence Stamp and Alan Arkin

Director: Peter Segal

Time: 110 mins

Rating: * * * (out of 4)

Quick, whip out your shoe and call your friends: that blundering secret agent Maxwell Smart is coming to town! On second thoughts, forget it. That shoe-phone gag is so Sixty-ish that it may as well be Jurassic. Still, for those who have caught Smart on TV reruns, it was the one object that defined the whole series. With this screen version, Get Smart gets a new lease on life - thanks to Steve Carrell, the one comedian who seems to be able to make the franchise work again.

'Get Smart' was created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry and the original TV series ran from 1965 to 1970, starring the deadpan Don Adams as Maxwell Smart. Much of the humour was based on goofy puns and good-natured slapstick about how Smart, who works for CONTROL, tries to outwit the Soviet baddies of KAOS. Now that the Cold War is over, CONTROL analyst Smart (Carrell) discovers that someone in Russia is selling nukes to unstable governments.

Smart, who has longed to become a field agent, gets his chance after CONTROL's offices are attacked and their top agents are compromised. Teaming up with the gorgeous Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), Smart must find the KAOS guy (Terence Stamp) and stop his plan to nuke America.

HITS & MISSES: The TV series had always capitalised on utterly silly gags (and Adams' deadpan expression) to get the laughs. However, after so many decades of 'utterly silly' jokes, they have ceased to be funny. The scripters Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember must have realised this for they have updated the plot and comedy, tossed in a bit of wit and character history (like an overweight Smart) and relied a whole lot on the popular appeal of Carrell and Hathaway. And it pays off. As Agent 99, Hathaway looks even more glamorous than she did in 'The Devil Wears Prada', giving her character the touch of feminine warmth that works wonders on the audience. It is unfortunate that their dialogue and verbal sparring sound a bit lame. 'The Rock' Johnson, Alan Arkin, Ken (Borat) Davitian and Masi Oka (of Heroes fame) each managed to bring some mirth, if not laughter, to their role.

Catching this may not be the Smartest thing to do, but it is a whole lot wiser than going for 'Superhero Movie'.


At 6:37 am, Anonymous patrick said...

Get Smart looks okay over all though it seems like Steve Carell is veering toward an excess of slapstick humor


Post a Comment

<< Home