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"Get Smart"

Directed by Peter Segal.
Written by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember.
Starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Alan Arkin and Dwayne Johnson.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  7/2/08

Much like the TV show, the movie version of "Get Smart" is mildly funny, but generally, not very good.  This is interesting, mainly because I am one of six Americans in my age bracket who regularly watched reruns of this show while hangin' out at my babysitter's house back in the day...and, even then, I remember thinking that the original show wasn't very good.

This was lost on those Hollywood types who believe that every product is worth bringing back to the silver screen...truth be told, "Alvin and the Chipmunks" wasn't that great growing up either, but the movie version of that TV show made hundreds of millions of bucks...then, "Speed Racer" did not.  It's a fun guessing game to play, but "Get Smart" plays a version of the game that starts slow, has zero chemistry between our leads (could it be the 15-year age difference?  Carell's lack of leading man qualities that work in straight comedies but not action-comedies?  Hathaway's blindingly-white skin?), features action scenes with the wrong action stars (The Rock is in this film, but is featured is roughly none of the action sequences...odd), and features large, LARGE stretches of classic suspension of disbelief...cue the scene where a seven-foot-tall assassin falls from a plane all the way into a pig at a farmhouse...gets up, and walks away.

"Get Smart" does have three or four very funny scenes, but they come so sporadically (and after such a slow, unfunny first 20 minutes) that they appear to be aberrations, almost as if they don't belong with the rest of this movie.  Carell's Maxwell Smart is as deadpan and as sarcastic as I remember Don Adams being back in the day, but that doesn't work very well here, and I still don't know why.  A heavy balance on action here also doesn't work...Smart goes from analyst to shoot-baddies-on-the-run proficient about mid-way through his first field mission, and I would have been fine with Smart not shooting anybody at all.

What can I say?  If you let the guy that directed the atrocious "50 First Dates" direct your movie (and, it's certain that director Peter Segal is getting worse, since he did the cult classic "Tommy Boy" more than a dozen years ago), this is what you get.  And, for Carell, this continues to solidify the opinion that he is better as an ensemble player, where he worked wonders in both "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Little Miss Sunshine."

Rating:  Rental

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09