Posted by: Dr P | July 13, 2008

Get Smart

After almost a month of pronounced abstinence (stop tittering at the back), trips to the flicks have started to arrive at lightning speed. The purchase of an Unlimited cineworld ticket has made some sense for a while, and now it’s in place, expect lots more reviews!

First off, the new Orange advert!! Yes indeed, after months of Rob Lowe looking right at me, we now have Anjelica Huston and her excellent pitch for a movie in which she talks to the dead. From the moment the main guy says “Miss Huston, we have a problem”, you know this is going to be up there with the best Orange adverts, in fact it’s almost as good as the Sean “Hobbit” Astin and Darth Vader ones. Look out for it!

There are lots of so-called “comedy” or spoof films where the best jokes are in the trailer – recent examples include any of the “Date/Scary/Superhero” Movie franchise. Whilst the trailer for Get Smart did indeed include quite a few good gags, thankfully the producers left most of the corkers for the film itself.

OK, the premise. Steve “Evan Almighty” Carell is a member of “Control”, a team of special operatives who keep the world safe from the agents of “Chaos”, the opposite side. In essence, a load of James Bonds vs Spectre/Smersh. Carell is a world-class analyst, who has been kept away from frontline duty on account of his astounding computing and analytical skills – a sort of Bill Gates but trained in lethal combat. On the front lines are the likes of Dwayne Johnson (better known as the amazing WWE legend, the Rock) and Anne Hathaway, the mysterious Agent 99, whose looks are equally as likely to kill as her hands.

When an inside job exposes Control and leaves many of the operatives dead, Carell’s Agent 23 is summoned to active duty and paired up with Agent 99 (thank god the writers didn’t reduce the number by thirty or that could have seriously lowered the tone). At this point, things start to unfold at a rapid rate as we discover who is a double agent, who is playing both sides, and just what can happen if you mess with The Rock and a stapler. Chaos is led by the wonderful Terence Stamp, of Peugeot voice-over fame, and he gets some great lines.

One of the sheer joys of this movie is Rock’s turn as the machismo agent, whose looks, charm, speed and strength have made him the pin-up boy of Control. His comic timing is impeccable, and he shines in one of his best film roles to date. Hathaway is equally mesmerising as Agent 99 – she is beautiful, yes, but deadly, and her comic timing and foil to Carell’s bumbling hero is great to watch. But the true star of the show is Carell. On the one hand he plays it for laughs, a sort of James Bond meets Mr Bean, but the neat twist is that he’s actually a formidable agent too, not an idiot. There are some moments where he comes unstuck, with very funny repercussions (the telephone throw, the swing into the wall, and his ridiculous celebration inside a failed ‘silence cone’ spring to mind), but he is also pretty lethal when it matters, with hands and weapons.

The film is a delight and had us laughing out loud numerous times. In my view this is a superior quality spoof, and also one with a decent plot, an excellent array of supporting characters, and a movie you could watch with just about anyone, from kids to pensioners, whether they are fans of the genre or not. It allows Carell to really shine as an “everyman” hero that we could all identify with, and the twists and turns and decent effects make for exciting viewing. Plus the Rock and the stapler are worth watching time and again!

“Get Smart” and go and see this film!

Memorable quotes:

KAOS Agent: Look, I’m a sportsman. I’ll let you choose the way you want to die.
Maxwell Smart: All right, how about old age?

Chief: Max, I don’t know what I’m going to do about you. You bungle assignment after assignment.
Maxwell Smart: I resent that, Chief.
Chief: Do you deny it?
Maxwell Smart: No, but I resent it.

Maxwell Smart: Listen, 99, did you find out anything about that restaurant that sold me the poison coffee?
Agent 99: Yes, Max. It was a Kaos front. They stayed in business almost a year just to get the Professor. Then they packed up and disappeared. Terrible, isn’t it?
Maxwell Smart: It certainly is. They had the best prune danish in town.

Maxwell Smart: I think it’s only fair to warn you, this facility is surrounded by a highly trained team of 130 black op snipers.
Siegfried: I don’t believe you.
Maxwell Smart: Would you believe 2 dozen Delta Force commandos?
Siegfried: No.
Maxwell Smart: How about Chuck Norris with a BB gun?

Maxwell Smart: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
The Chief: I don’t know. Were you thinking “Holy shit, holy shit! A swordfish almost went through my head”? Because if you are, then we’re on the same page.

The Anjelica Huston trailer can be watched here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwfq2QLmBS8

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