| Original series better than
film version of 'Get Smart'
A Hollywood recycling of a classic television series is a nostalgic trip down memory lane for Baby Boomers.
The familiar characters, theme song, props (“cone of silence” and shoe phone) and popular one-line catch phrases are all part of this cheap imitation.
Peter Segal (“The Longest Yard,” “50 First Dates”) directs this adaptation of a James Bond-like spy spoof created by comedy legends Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. There were 138 half-hour episodes that were a weekly prime-time staple from 1965-70.
This modernized version centers on the promotion from chief analyst to field agent of Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) aka Agent 86. He is paired with the beautiful and competent Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway).
The Chief (Alan Arkin) of ultra-secret espionage agency CONTROL sends this newly paired team on an assignment to recover stolen nuclear weapons. This puts them on a collision course with an evil crime syndicate known as KAOS headed by Siegfried (Terrence Stamp) and his chief henchman Shtarker (Ken Davitan from “Borat”).
Smart is a bumbling incompetent whose dumb luck and old-fashioned hunches never fail to save the day. The likable Carell is unable to fill the shoes once inhabited by the incomparable Don Adams. Adams made the series a winner with his funny voice and deadpan delivery. Hathaway is a better fit for the part originated by Barbara Feldon. She is intelligent, competitive and incredibly sexy.
Carell and Hathaway bicker and banter like a married couple, but the romantic chemistry is missing. The loosely constructed story is not consistently funny. The movie drags in spots and feels too long. The action scenes and stunts look fake and phony. The changeover to digital GCI from film is very noticeable.
This unnecessary remake is mostly ridiculous nonsense. The better alternative is to seek out the complete season DVDs for the true flavor of silly gags and goofy behavior.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"