Get Smart (PG-13)
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This is a 2008 feature film adaptation of the 1960s spy spoof TV series Get Smart. There are a fair number of lines in the film that are direct homages to catchphrases from the show. And the main character, Max Smart, as played here by Steve Carell, is very much like the character as he was played by Don Adams on the show. You know, the perfect blend of humorous bumbling and legitimate skill. A lot of time when old shows get adapted into new movies, the results can range from terrible to okay. Rarely are such movies really good... but while the reviews for this film were mixed, personally I thought it was great. There were some parts I didn't find funny, but most of it I did find quite funny. And I also enjoyed the spy story aspect, even if it wasn't at all believable. It was still fun and reasonably cool, IMHO. And I definitely appreciated the fact that everyone involved in making the film seemed to me to have a genuine affection for the show. It was definitely more modern in some ways (and sort of retro in other ways), but I thought it did an admirable job of replicating the overall feel of the old show.
Anyway... Maxwell Smart is a data analyst for a spy agency called CONTROL, which according to the film had supposedly been shut down when the Cold War ended, but in fact it's clearly still in operation. (It also is clearly a rival of the CIA, which I think is a nice touch, given the famous squabbling between various government agencies in the real world, particularly post-9/11.) Max has always wanted to become a field agent, but he's failed the test seven times before. (This is apparently mostly because of the physical portion of the test, since until recently he was quite overweight.) At the start of the film, he's waiting for the results of his eighth try. He eventually learns that he passed, but the Chief (played by Alan Arkin) refuses to promote him, because Max is too good of an analyst, and the Chief doesn't want to lose him in that capacity. Aside from the Chief, most others in CONTROL show Max no respect, particularly Agents 91 (Terry Crews) and Larabee (David Koechner). Although there are a couple of lab tech guys, Bruce (Masi Oka) and Lloyd (Nate Torrence), who like Max (and dislike Larabee and 91). Oh, and there is an agent called 23 (Dwayne Johnson), who actually treats Max as a friend... which is a bit surprising, given that he's CONTROL's top agent. But whatever.
Well, the real rival spy agency of CONTROL, I mean enemies instead of just... inter-departmental rivals... is KAOS, which itself was supposed to have been defeated or whatever, like 20 years ago. But not surprisingly, they're still making trouble. They're led by a man named Siegfried, who has a plot to use nuclear weapons he's obtained, to demand money from the U.S. government. (As a side note, I want to mention it was pretty cool that there was a very brief cameo appearance in one scene by Bernie Kopell, who played Siegfried in the show.) And... uh, there was apparently a break-in at CONTROL headquarters, and KAOS learned the identities of all their agents, and started killing them. So those who were left were no longer safe, and forced to remain at HQ instead of doing field work. But there was one agent, 99 (Anne Hathaway), who'd recently had plastic surgery, to protect her identity for a totally unrelated reason that I never completely understood. But it meant she could still do field work. And Max was made a field agent, after all (given the code name 86; though as was the case in the series, he's more often called by his real name). 99 doesn't want him as a partner, but has no choice.
Anyway, Max and 99 go to Russia to find the nuclear weapons and stop Siegfried's plans. And while they don't get along well at first, eventually they do realize they make a good team. And 99 comes to realize that Max isn't such a bad agent, after all. And... predictably enough, they'll eventually develop romantic feelings, as well. I don't want to reveal any more of the plot, though the climax is in L.A. There are some twists, though nothing I hadn't expected all along. Still... I liked it.
Um... so, as I said, the movie was funny. And everyone did a good job of acting, I thought. Though Siegfried was more of a serious villain (and more of a jerk-ass) in the movie than in the series. His top henchman, Shtarker, is a bit more likable and amusing, though neither is really as important to the story as a goon named Dalip. And I guess that's all I can think to say.