Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Get Smart **1/2

Director: Peter Segal
Cast: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway
Alan Arkin, Dwayne Johnson, Terence Stamp, James Caan

Based on the 1960's legendary spy spoof show, this adaptation has Carrell as Maxwell Smart, a top analyst at CONTROL: an ultrasecret USA agency battling KAOS, their evil archenemy which is involved in nuclear arms dealing.
After a sneak attack compromises all the top agents in CONTROL, the Chief (Arkin) promotes Maxwell to field agent and teams him up with the deadly 99 (Hathaway) who at first refuses to work with the inept newbie.
The original series, created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, relied on sophisticated, spoken humor, which sounded better because of Don Adams' droll, ingenious deliveries.
This version chooses to place this in the background and concentrates on explosive action sequences, some of which have nothing to envy of "real" spy/action thrillers.
And while the movie doesn't turn out to be anything spectacular, it still manages to be above your average blockbuster fare if only for the performers.
Carell is the perfect choice for Smart because he has that face which is always stuck between ironic and serious.
He's brilliant at delivering dialogues, which are obviously incoherent to everyone but Maxwell, and in more active scenes his timing is flawless.
Arkin is effortlessly good and Johnson, who's slowly shaking off his wrestler image is satisfying, but the film might as well belong to two actors.
First Dalip Singh, as a Jaws inspired villain with a heart of gold who steals every scene he's in and then Hathaway, who clad in gorgeous Chanel outfits, gives 99 killer comedic timing, unbelievable sex appeal and even a heart!
It's the actors who elevate this in a way no high tech gadget ever could.


patrick said...

Get Smart looks okay overall, though Steve Carell seems to be veering more and more toward slapstick-style humor

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