Film Review: Get Smart

by Nate Taylor

I recently saw a TV spot for Get Smart which quoted Larry King as saying that the movie was a "Summer smash." The only way this 2-hour disappointment could be called a smash is if you recorded the sound it made sliding to the bottom of the box office totals.

An hour into it, I was bored. Bored. I've watched the entire first season of Carnivale without getting bored, but Get Smart shot me down like 10-year-old watching a PGA tournament. Where did it go wrong? Let's start with the writing. Almost every single moment of dramatic tension was resolved with trash-talking and a fist fight. The most embarassing of which was when the Chief (Alan Arkin) was in a briefing for the Vice President (Geoff Pierson) on terror threats. When the VP dismisses the Chief's concerns over a KAOS attack, he gets tackled over the desk. Sounds funny, yes, but it was executed so poorly that not a single person in the theater laughed. That was actually most of the movie. Joke = silence. Dramatic moment = chuckles. The funniest part of the movie was Patrick Warburton who doesn't even show up until the very end.

Here's the worst part: I like Steve Carell. He's great in The Office, great in 40-Year-Old Virgin, and refreshing in Dan in Real Life, but in this movie it felt like he had been comically hamstrung. Maxwell Smart was simply Maxwell Stupid. I know it's possible to have dumb and clumsy characters who are also likeable: Harry and Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber, Cooper and Reemer from Baseketball, Blake and Collins from Bandits, and even Marcus Brody from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The whole movie could have been saved if the writer had taken cues from any of those examples.

Action was so-so. Most espionage and fight scenes were well-choreographed and shot, but there was nothing to write home about. So let's talk redeemable parts. The Rock had some good lines and was generally enjoyable to watch, and Anne Hathaway was stunning.

...aaaand that's about it. But if you think she's all that and a 42" plasma television, then you probably already have her as the background on your computer like I do, and therefore don't need see Get Smart.

So don't see it. In fact, only recommend it to people you hate.

Contact: naten at