Get Smart


Posted February 13, 2009 in DVD/Digital Reviews

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Get Smart is a remake of the satirical 60s sitcom that tracks the adventures of a bumbling American spy, and his more competent female partner, Agent 99. The film provides a slack-jawed 110 minutes of explosions, loudly-voiced wisecracks, and comedy groin-kicks. Not that these elements are without merit – heavens no! – but everything here is yawningly tedious and irritatingly familiar. Steve Carell stars as Maxwell Smart, and if he grates on you half as much as he grates on me – with the in-on-the-joke smugness that taints all of his parody – then you will be squirming in your seat. Anne Hathaway is massively, massively underwhelming as Agent 99. Her career is slowly ticking off all the key Hollywood female roles – teen princess; insipid 18th century heroine; sweet-natured girl in the big city. Here she is unimpressive as the steely dominatrix whom only love can tame. Perhaps a role that might have been redeemed with a grittier, wittier incarnation than her pink-cheeked efforts provide. The smaller roles are reasonably well-played. There is a randomly delightful Bill Murray cameo but he's far from redeeming the script. As you might predict, the writers even manage to foist a cringey Carell/Hathaway love-affair on us. How do they sleep at night? If you enjoy witty, reproduced versions of your favourite childhood US sitcoms – steer clear. But if dead-eyed rehashings of an exhausted formula are your cup of tea, this might just be the movie for you. Not Smart enough for me.

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