Get Smart is among the surprise releases on Hollywood's list of 2008 Summer Blockbusters. With more hyped projects such as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Indiana Jones doing the rounds at the theaters; and with Hancock, Hellboy 2 and The Dark Knight still to come; for some other movie to grab the attention of audiences would be quite bizarre. Speed Racer, Prince Caspian, The Happening, tried - and didn't grab as much of their anticipated share. Get Smart, although not as big a project, might just go in the league of Prince Caspian when it comes to being a Summer Blockbuster.
Fisrt things first.. Get Smart is an adaptation of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry's television series. The series garnered critical acclaim in the mid 60's. They starred Don Adams in the lead role as Maxwell Smart, an undercover agent for a secret U.S. Government Spy Agency called CONTROL. Their nemesis was a terrorist organization called KAOS. I have never seen the television series, so I will not be able to throw in any sort of comparison between that and the film. Dont judge anything by that.
Steve Carell is someone I have a huge amount of respect for after being practically awed by his hilarious Prime Time show The Office, his portrayal of The 40 Year Old Virgin, and also his small cameo in Bruce Almighty. In this 2008 revamp of the hit series, he stars as Maxwell Smart a.k.a. Agent 86 (A weird number for a top-class secret agent. It has no significance whatsoever!). With a team of CONTROL agents, they must take down KAOS.
The leaders of the respective organizations are portrayed by rather elderly men. Alan Arkin plays The Chief, head of CONTROL. And Terence Stamp plays Siegfried, the leader of KAOS. Both, fit right in to their roles in the presence of a cast who are half their age! Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson turns up another fun performance as Agent 23. Dalip 'The Great Khali' Singh also has a role in this film as Siegfried's handyman. Watch out for him. He is the cause of many 'aww's' and 'ooh's' among the female-going audience. Although I still fail to believe that the pig he fell on, nor him, died after that God-knows-how-many thousand feet drop!
I'm seeing Anne Hathaway for the first time since The Devil Wears Prada. She plays Agent 99 (Now that's a cool number for a secret agent!). The chemistry between her and Carell is all over the place. It's great fun to watch them working together. The expressions Steve Carell makes in certain scenes is just unforgettable. Sequences like the one with Bill Murray, an agent posted inside a tree; the dance with an enormous woman; the one in the lavatory of the airplane, and loads of others, make this film worth a watch.
However, my pick of the lot remains the pairing of Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura from Heroes) and Nate Torrence as Bruce and Lloyd, two wannabe secret agents who develop various gadgets and devices for CONTROL. Their undying love for Maxwell Smart gives us a rib-tickling sequence (refer to the facial expressions in the above still).
Get Smart is one of the better spoof movies. I enjoyed Rowan Atkinson's Johhny English immensely. This too, ranks in the same league. The climax, with Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th Symphony, is surprisingly funny given the parodied Bush'ism from the U.S. President.
After the no-show that was The Happening, watch this one for a break from the big blockbuster films that are coming out all through the summer. Get Smart. You won't be disappointed.
7/10 overall. Full score for Ode to Joy in the climax, and what followed for Siegfried!