Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Get Smart

If only the title followed it's own advice. Get Smart was a mediocre attempt at comedy that had lowest-common-denominator audience members howling in their seats next to me. If a movie could win an Oscar for "Ruining Humor Ahead Of Time In A Trailer By Showing Too Much," then this film would have won it. Handily. Sadly, it was more of a children's film than a movie targeted toward the people who would have liked it the most: namely, 18-35's and fans who used to watch the show.

Get Smart
Director: Peter Segal
Starring: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, Champ Kind

What a sweet cast. As far as performances go, all the main players pretty much did the best they could with the pitiful script they were forced to memorize. Carell was likeable and charming, while Hathaway reached her pinnacle of hotness that she had been dreaming of since the days of The Princess Diaries. Aside from that, her acting was passable since she was probably given the most complex role of anyone in the cast. Dwayne "I'm Not The Rock Anymore" Johnson was the typical jock who befriends the nerdy Carell, and he played this role as if he were sleepwalking through it waiting for the producers of the Scorpion King to call him for a sequel. (Incidentally, they didn't.)

The plot follows the government agency CONTROL analyst Maxwell Smart (Carell) as he gets promoted to Agent 86 and partners with Agent 99 (Hathaway) to take down the KAOS, a terrorist group who has infiltrated CONTROL's home base. All of the field agents are compromised because of the break-in, so Max and Agent 99 (who recently had plastic surgery to change her identity) are the only two left to save Los Angeles from destruction at the hands of the mysterious Siegfried (Terence Stamp of Superman II).

I think most of my disappointment with Get Smart stems from my opinion that the supposedly "funny parts" of the film weren't even that funny. What is happening to comedy these days? Are summer trash like The Love Guru and You Don't Mess With The Zohan the kind of quality that we've come to put up with at the theater? I think we as the American people deserve better when we shell out 10 dollars to see a movie. I think we deserve to actually laugh throughout a "comedy" and not just nod and say to ourselves "oh yeah, I remember seeing that in the trailer." Correct me if I'm wrong, but comedy should be funny.

The problem with Get Smart (in my humble opinion) was the same problem with Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - the script was abysmal. The directing was fine, the special effects were OK, the production design, lighting, cinematography, score - I didn't have a problem with any of that. But they needed to get a script a little more fresh than something a 12-year-old could have written. I know that the show was based on slapstick-type humor, but at least it had a little intelligence to go along with it. If you've ever seen a movie before, you knew exactly what was going to happen in Get Smart at least 10 minutes before it unfolded on the screen. Branz criticized me for being too hard on it, but I think the American people deserve a bit more credit than that. I'd like to believe that we are capable of comprehending some abstract thought, making hinted-at plot connections on our own without everything being spelled out, recognizing basic themes when they are presented to us, and all the other little things that go along with appreciating films and what they can do for us. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think that you need a college education to make these type of cognitive leaps.

Anyway, the movie was probably worth a rental. There were some humorous sections (Mel Brooks co-created the show and was an adviser for the film), but overall it just wasn't funny enough to make up for its predictability. If you have children, you are a child, or you will be having children in the near future, then there's a distinct possibility that you might like Get Smart. Otherwise, wait for it to hit TBS in about 9 months. Until next time...


breezy said...

alright, at least it is somewhat stated that I liked it and gave you a fight about it...

patrick said...

Get Smart looks okay over all, though Steve Carell seems to be veering more and more toward not so funny slapstick humor