Get Smart

Get Smart
Yet another 60's TV show film. Thankfully, Get Smart is much more Mission Impossible than Bewitched. (I mean that it's a good film - the spy connection is just a coincidence.) Steve Carell stars as the eponymous Maxwell Smart, chief analyst for CONTROL, a top secret government organisation who closely monitors the actions of KAOS (the bad guys). Max's idol is Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson), CONTROL's best agent. Max wants to be an agent, and is more than qualified, but is too valuable as an analyst to be promoted. Until, of course, CONTROL is attacked and the identity of all of their agents is revealed. This means that only Max and the recently post-cosmetic surgery Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) are safe in the field, and are dispatched to investigate KAOS' involvement.

Anne HathawayWhat ensues truly is one of the funniest films I've seen this year, filled to the brim with superb visual gags and throwaway one-liners. Hathaway - stunningly beautiful, as ever - mostly acts as the foil to Carell's antics, who truly shines in this role, perfectly suited to his comedic style and timing. Alan Arkin has a good turn with some great moments as the Chief. ("Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" "I don't know. Were you thinking, "Holy shit, holy shit, a sword fish almost went through my head"? If so, then yes.") Bill Murray has a funny little cameo, while Dalip Singh (aka WWE's The Great Khali) marks out a role comparable only to James Bond's Jaws, only bigger and twice as ugly.

One of the things that really makes Get Smart work and that differentiates it from other parodies of the spy genre (like Johnny English, for example) is that Maxwell Smart is actually a very competent, though highly unorthodox, agent. We see him very capably traverse the laser maze (up until the intervention of a rat), prove his marksmanship skills both in training and the field, he is highly knowledgeable about KAOS (perhaps more than anyone else) and he is a good improviser (very unlike Carell's character Michael from The Office). Certainly, he is prone to (highly amusing) blunders, but it is that beneath this there is a skilled, highly likeable individual that makes Smart truly work as a character.

Get Smart is a hugely enjoyable film, packed with laugh-out-loud moments from beginning to end. The plot is fairly incidental and pretty predictable, but that impacts the enjoyment of the film not one iota. One of the funniest films I've seen this year, and well worth the watch. A-.

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