Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Get Smart”

(Warner Bros. 110 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some rude humor, action violence and language. Directed by Peter Segal.) Steve Carell (Maxwell Smart), Anne Hathaway (Agent 99), Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Agent 23), Alan Arkin (The Chief), Terence Stamp (Siegfried). Music by Trevor Rabin. Original Theme by William Szathmary.

The spy-spoof TV series Get Smart premiered in 1965, was an immediate hit, and ran for five years. The show sprang from the seriously-warped minds of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. The main character was bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart (played by Don Adams), also known as Agent 86, who worked for the U.S. government agency CONTROL. He and his sidekick, female Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon), would spoil schemes by KAOS, an Eastern-bloc agency staffed by equally-inept agents, and headed by Siegfried (Bernie Kopell). Recurring characters included the Chief (Ed Platt), 86 and 99’s long-suffering boss, and Hymie the Robot (Dick Gautier), a powerful android who tended to take orders too literally. All these crazy characters, gags, gadgets, and catch-phrases (“Sorry about that, Chief”) are back! Now Steve Carell does a good job filling the sizable shoes — or should I say shoe phones — of the late, great Adams, who won 3 Emmys playing Smart. “The Rock” is a new character, Agent 23. The Cold War is over, of course, but even in 2008, KAOS is still bent on world domination. The opening premise here is that 23 is the superstar agent, and 86, oddly, is just an analyst, eager to be promoted to field work. He gets the upgrade, is partnered with 99 and together they try and stop Siegfried’s latest doomsday scenario. The movie is mostly successful in bringing back a beloved TV show, although the second half gets a little too action-clichéd. Look for a cameo from Kopell in a sports car. Trevor Rabin’s composed a good, contemporary score that cleverly incorporates the famous original theme, which was written by William Szathmary, the older brother of then-popular comedian Bill Dana (“José Jimenez”). Enjoyable.