Friday, June 27, 2008

Film Review- Get Smart

Missed It By That Much...

Anyone who is a fan of the original "Get Smart" television series will be pleased that several of the iconic moments of that series live on in the movie, although for this viewer, that was really all that was left in a film that really was quite a departure from the original. Yay for the shoe phone, that makes only one appearance toward the end of the film, and for the infamous telephone booth, which in this case leads us to the shiny high tech chaos headquarters, transformed for modern times in a NASA like command center, that fortunately doesn't take itself too seriously. Yay for the cone of silence, updated to be an infrared type deal which still thank goodness doesn't allow anyone to hear anything, even with all that shouting. The infamous solid metal doors that seal off the world from Control headquarters are still in action, although in need of repair from the "maintenance department." I wasn't sure if that was particularly funny, but I went with it anyway. I liked Steve Carell as Max, and definitely agree with his choice not to try to imitate the great Don Adams, but to come up with his own bumbling agent who gets ahead routine. I also liked that the Chief, Alan Arkin, gets to fly around in a plane and do some great chase scenes at the end of the movie. Liberties were taken with all the characters, and with the rather flimsy plot that centered around "yellow cake," Russians sneaking nuclear weapons into Los Angeles so as to set off a bomb at a concert the president is attending...you get the idea. My main problem was with Anne Hathaway, who, while leggy, acrobatic, and of course really good looking, didn't remind me of agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) at all. The great thing about 99 was that as much as she watched Max make a fool out of himself, she always had a soft spot for him and was rooting for him. The modernization of 99 somehow meant that she had to get mean, and fairly cold, which she is for most of the movie, and it was really no fun to watch her and Max fight like a modern day mismatched couple. The plot device of her having to change her appearance really didn't do much for me to open up her character. She did warm up to Max toward the end, but it was really too late to feel a connection between the two, and by the time the bomb that is the focal point of the movie is diffused, so is the chemistry between Carell and Hathaway. So did the filmakers get it right? I'd say they missed it by that much...

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