First things first – Steve Carell is the perfect choice for stepping into Don Adams‘ (phone) shoes. He perfectly embodies the foolishness and semi-arrogance of Maxwell Smart, while always remaining completely lovable. The same goes for Anne Hathaway as Agent 99. Was she always this pretty? It’s near impossible to take your eyes off of her, to the point where it actually distracts you from the rest of the film.
As for the plot – there’s nothing much you need to know. For the uninitiated, Get Smart follows the exploits of a bumbling spy (Carell) and his sassy sidekick (Hathaway). What is worth noting however, is that it’s as good an adaptation of the classic TV show you could ever hope for. The cast is perfect, the script is funny enough, and the action sequences are surprisingly exciting. The final 20 minutes is an extended chase involving planes, trains and automobiles, and is so well executed you wish you could see it again straight away. I’d never thought I’d say that about a action comedy starring Alan Arkin and The Rock. Of course, Arkin as The Chief proves he is still one of the funniest actors out there, and Dwayne Johnson (nee “The Rock”) is pretty charming. If anything is going to take your eyes of Miss Hathaway, it’s the incredibly well-toned former wrestler…or have I said too much?
Sure, the joke hit-and-miss ratio is not as high as some other recent action-comedies (Starsky and Hutch, Hot Fuzz). However, the entire cast is so likeable, you’re willing to forgive a couple of flat laughs just to spend more time in their company. It’s clear the audience I saw the film with agreed, breaking into applause on three seperate occasions; twice due to well delivered punchlines, and once at the end of a well-executed dance sequence. Well, everyone else was clapping…I couldn’t just sit there like an idiot.
Get Smart is a lot of fun, and doesn’t treat its audience with contempt like so many other “comedies”. It might not be as bold as upcoming comedies like Tropic Thunder or action flicks like Wanted – but it’s a solid tribute to a classic show, as well as an entertaining film in its own right. The fact is, I would even look forward to another installment if this cast remains. In a year where even Ghost Rider gets a sequel, Get Smart makes you actually WANT one.