Get Smart: Not Smart Enough

Brent Wallace

“Get Smart” is a comedy based on the 1960’s TV show of the same name. Although “Get Smart” does have a few good jokes, even if you are familiar with the source material, you will probably be disappointed by its pacing and surprising lack of fresh material.

“Get Smart” stars Steve Carell (“Horton Hears a Who!” 2008) as Maxwell Smart; the role that Don Adams made a cult classic out of in the original show. At the start of the movie, Max is hoping to become a field agent just like his role model, Agent 23, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (“The Game Plan,” 2007). Max gets his chance when CONTROL HQ is attacked by their rival, KAOS. Max is then teamed up with Agent 99, played by Anne Hathaway (“Becoming Jane,” 2007), in a mission to find out where KAOS is hiding their nuclear bombs.

The plot of “Get Smart” is a perfect fit with the movie’s source material. Unfortunately, the whole movie suffers from major pacing issues. The movie likes to jump around from one scene to another very quickly and abruptly. This could have been fixed if the movie had just a few more transition scenes to tie the scenes together.

The pacing issues of “Get Smart” would have been more forgivable if the movie had some fresh comedy for people to see. Unfortunately, the movie has very little fresh material at all. The result is that the comedic scenes are very predictable.

On the plus side, it does have several references to the original TV show that should satisfy fans, although they might not agree with how these references are used. It is true that the producers may have made the movie with mostly old comedic material to satisfy these fans as well.

This does not mean that you must be familiar with the source material in order to enjoy “Get Smart” however. Anyone with a taste for old fashioned slapstick comedy should be able to enjoy the movie, even if they never watched the original show.

At least “Get Smart” scores points with its casting. All of the actors put on great performances despite the relatively low quality of the material used here. Alan Arkin (“Sunshine Cleaning,” 2008), who plays the Chief of CONTROL, and James Caan (“Elf,” 2003) who plays the president of the United States, are unquestionably the best performers in the whole flick.

In the end, “Get Smart” comes off as nothing more than an average comedy. If you are familiar with the source material or just want to see a run-of-the-mill comedy, here is one for you to see. If your looking for a comedy that can actually stand on its own two feet, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Rating: PG-13 for some rude humor, action violence, and language
Running Time: 111 minutes
My rating: 2 out of 4 stars

Director: Peter Segal

Producers: Alex Gartner
Charles Roven
Andrew Lazar

Writers: Tom J. Astle
Matt Ember

Starring: Steve Carell
Anne Hathaway
Dwayne Johnson
Alan Arkin
Terence Stamp
James Caan

Distributed By: Warner Bros