30 June 2008

Get Smart

With Get Smart, Steve Carell was given one more chance to prove to me, and maybe Hollywood, that he can carry a movie. He was a great supporting actor in so many movies, and had a break out hit with The 40 Year-Old Virgin. But since then, Seth Rogen has had more hits than Steve has, and nobody knew who Seth was. Steve has had one flop after another. This was it. When I think about who could have played Maxwell Smart, I was hard pressed to come up with anybody other than Steve Carell. So, I went in with high expectations.

Get Smart opens with Maxwell going into the, thought to be extinct, office of C.O.N.T.R.O.L. The opening does a great job of explaining what happened to CONTROL and the nemesis KAOS. It helped bridge the gap of the sixties television show and the 2008 take on the same story. Also in the opening, we see that Max has taken the field agent test, again, and the results come in this day. Once in the headquarters, we meet the Chief, played by Alan Arkin. Arkin was great for this role with his comedy. We also meet Agent 23, played by Dwayne “Not The Rock:” Johnson. He is the stud field agent that everyone wants to be like. David Koechner plays another field agent. He is one of my favorite character actors out there. We also meet Bruce and Lloyd, the Q Branch of CONTROL. They are, however, not funny enough for me to want to see the spin-off direct to DVD movie.

Well, Max passes his field agent tests, but The Chief wants to keep him as an analyst because he is the best they have. But after CONTROL is infiltrated and compromised, Max is granted field agent status. He is partnered with Agent 99, who recently had her face changed and so was not compromised by the infiltration. Here is another great casting. Anne Hathaway was beyond perfect for this role.

So, Max and Agent 99 go out on their first mission together. They are after Siegfried, played by Terrence Stamp. He is collecting nuclear munitions to hold the Earth ransom. He makes a threat against the U.S. that the Vice-President, played by 24 “President” Geoff Pierson, ignores because they get them all the time. The President is a cameo appearance by James Caan. He has the worst fake Texan accent ever.

Anyway, along the way, Carell spits out a few classics lines such as “missed it by that much,” “would you believe…,” and “the old….trick.” They all seemed forced to me. It seemed like they knew they needed them in the script, but just not sure where to put them, and Carell did not know how to deliver them. They also have the old Studebaker and shoe phone. In the end, it boiled down to a mole in the agency. Really?!?!? Is there no other idea out there in Hollywood for a spy film? A double agent? Come on! This has been played out since 1995 when Goldeneye re-introduced it. It has been the basis for all three Mission: Impossible films, the first three or more seasons of 24, Die Another Day, and The Sentinel just to name a few. It is time that we come up with a new spy idea.

Verdict: Well, it tried to be new and tried to be old both, and sadly missed on both accounts. All in all, it was a good movie. I had a good time watching it. I think that now that they got the origin story out of the way, the sequel, if it is made, could be a lot better. Only time will tell. It is worth the watch in cinemas, especially if you are a fan of the series, or Steve Carell. He finally proved to me that he can carry a movie, but his support in this film may have had a lot to do with it, too. He has bought himself one more lead movie chance from me. Also, look for cameos by Bill Murray and character actor Patrick Warburton.

1 comment:

patrick said...

Get Smart looks okay overall, though Steve Carell seems to be veering more and more toward slapstick-style humor