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:: Get Smart

It's an interesting exercse to try and react to this film (a remake of the brilliant 1960s US television series). Steve Carell is cast as Agent 86 Maxwell Smart, the suave, but bumbling, secret agent. Anne Hathaway plays Agent 99. The age difference is surprising because the teamwork ends up lacking sharpness. Other major cast members are Alan Arkin as The Chief and Terence Stamp as Siegfried.

The story takes us inside CONTROL headquarters in a departure from the TV series. Max is an analyst and desperate to be promoted to an agent. It is only after headquarters is attacked and others wiped out, that Max gets his chance. He wants to be like Agent 23, the supposed star agent, who is played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

With the modern day technological advances, some recent spy films have been mocked here, and techniques altered to endear itself to younger viewers. The first half of Get Smart is mostly of the slapstick humour associated with the show, with obvious references. The second half turns out to be of an action film akin to a James Bond style, complete with computer effects. Despite occasional goofy scenes, there are moments that deserve laughter. The die-hard fans will cringe, however, because it isn't all about laughter and being funny. One would think that the film is trying to be something it isn't - more action than laughs. Reading material about the film's production, I came across some noteworthy comments by one of the writers of the original TV series. He indicated his dismay that people associated with remakes hardly ever consult with the original writers. It happened on this occasion too.

Steve Carell was probably the most suitable actor able to fit the role of Maxwell Smart, yet he still seemed a bit uncomfortable doing the catch phrases. There was nothing of the great wordplay and dialogue that made the series brilliant. But Carell was a good choice by the creative team anyway. The other characters seemed inconsistent with what should have occurred, with an especially weak Larabee and villains Siegfried and Shtarker. Big wrestling strongman The Great Khali has a more significant role as a henchman for Siegfried. The very brief introduction of the Hymie character near the end could pave the way for a sequel if this film does well at the box office.

One could suggest that Get Smart is faithful to the spirit of the TV show, but it's not a laugh-out-loud funny comedy. The action sequences make the film more in line of what younger audiences have recently seen with Mission Impossible and Austin Powers. All things considered, Get Smart is not bad, but I remain of the view that the brand should be left as an untouchable when it comes to remakes or reinterpretations.