Maybe I’ve been watching too many spy movies this month, but I was bored during this otherwise okay comedy spy film. We have a lot of US spy films, like the Mission Impossible series, RED 1 and 2, the Patriot Games trilogy, and Jason Bourne’s franchise. I recently reviewed a glut of British spy movies too, covering James Bond, The Kingsman, Johnny English and Austin Powers. I’m kind of spied out. I know there’s more spy movies out there, but I have to ask myself WHY? Do we all secretly want to use cool gadgets and murder with government consent? Does this make us a little bit evil, somehow?
In any case, Get Smart is based on a TV franchise my mother watched back in the day, and something I sat through as a child, for lack of anything more charming onscreen. I recalled the Shoe Phone, the Cone of Silence, the Telephone Booth entrance (a gag reused recently in Harry Potter of all things), and how the Maxwell Smart character made endless silly mistakes, yet carried the day in spite of it all. Smart is booksmart, but not really skilled in the field. In the Get Smart movie, Steve Carell plays the smart/dumb role with aplomb. Kudos to him.
For the rest of the cast, it was kind of an excuse to show up as a “Hey, I know that guy” trope, thinking that was good enough. (Clue: It wasn’t.) Anne Hathaway was over-cast and made no sense being in a silly feature like this. Don’t get me started on the total waste of The Rock’s talents. Why they agreed to show up for Get Smart is something I can’t understand. There’s also a very strange cameo with a beloved actor, who has a tiny scene while hidden in a tree on the White House lawn. I have no idea what that was about, but I won’t spoil it for you here. Look for him, and tell me if you think the scene added anything to the plot.
The best role went to the amiable Alan Arkin as the head of Control. I love his voice, and how he can be an average sort of fellow who never-the-less has a commanding presence. That worked. Not brilliantly, but good enough.
I did enjoy the dance-off scene, and Maxwell’s adorable partner. When she flipped the bird to the pretty little mean girls, I gave a small cheer. Not to say that fat jokes are cool, but it was pleasing to see her cut a rug with Max on the dance floor. The scene where Agent 99 and Max gyrate around deadly laser beams was a cute take on the the old trope. And I liked the nod to the old Bond movies with the Jaws-type henchman character, who they call Easter Island Head — which I totally see. The skydiving segment uncannily pre-dates the recent HALO jump on Mission Impossible: Fallout, but not with the panache of Tom Cruise’s real-life stunt.
Basically, Get Smart is a non-offensive movie that thinks it’s funnier than it is..however, my mother laughed a lot. Personally, if I’m going to watch a spy spoof, I’d prefer Austin Powers or The Kingsman. Still, Get Smart is better than Johnny English. Ah, the power of faint praise. 😉
Movie Grade: B–
(A Virgin Movie Review is one where we haven’t seen the movie in question when it came out, and watched it with no particular expectations.)
Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.