I have been introduced to many productions from the comedic genius Mel Brooks (personal favorite being "Blazing Saddles") but never heard of his foray onto the small screen with the 1960’s spy spoof "Get Smart" until recently.
Don Adams played the original Maxwell Smart, a bumbling secret agent who is a member of the Murphy’s Law List.
Entering into the 21st century and the silver screen, Steve Carell, plays Smart, best known to other agents as "maxi pad."
Max has applied for agent clearance eight times and has always been rejected, mainly because the Chief (Alan Arkin) wants him to stay as an analyst for CONTROL, a top-secret governmental spy agency devoted to thwarting the evil attempts of Russian rival KAOS.
Then the plot twist happens; CONTROL is attacked by KAOS (an inside job, perhaps?) and all the field agent identities are leaked, sans the help of Karl Rove.
Max is promoted to Agent 86 and has to work with the Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), much to her dismay and displeasure. They are on a mission to Russia to uncover a nuclear weapons factory KAOS is developing to either sell to enemies of the United States, or to use it themselves against the U.S. I guess pick your poison is the expression that applies.
Since this is Max Smart we are talking about (still bumbling from the 60’s), his adventures go off with a hitch, such as himself. He is arrested on the plane for trying to get gum off his shoe (people think he is a shoe bomber); he harpoons himself repeatedly while trying to escape the cuffs; exits the plane without a parachute because of said harpoons; and draws the attention of Dalip (Dalip Singh), who works with Siegfried (Terrance Stamp), the leader of KAOS. Siegfried’s main goal in life is American destruction, but in his spare time enjoys the sounds of classical music and making fun of Dalip’s wife.
Things go as well as they can until Agent 99 believes Max to be a double agent, which is a shame because she was beginning to like his dorky ways. Carell and Hathaway have great sidekick chemistry together, but not so much sizzling chemistry.
Like all spy productions, "Get Smart" has some awesome gadgets that I find myself wanting, such as the Swiss Army knife complete with blowtorch and harpoons that science geeks Bruce and Lloyd (Masi Oka and Nate Torrence) made for Max’s promotion. I cannot forget that wicked shoe phone with the untraceable connection.
"Get Smart" was balanced with extremely funny moments and lame, unfunny ones, but luckily, those were minimized by Carell’s dorkily sweet portrayal.
The movie went at a speedy pace, and I did not even wonder if The Rock (Dwayne Johnson plays Agent 23) could beat Dalip Singh (aka The Great Khali) in a WWE match until the movie was over. Usually at boring moments, I entertain myself by thinking of completely absurd questions that relate to the movie (or sometimes do not).
Overall, "Get Smart" is not going to be nominated in any categories at the Academy Awards, but it is a good flick to catch when you have nothing else to do.
I gave the film a C+.
Dedra Cordle is a Columbus Messenger staff writer.