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Get Smart Delivers

Published June 19, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros.
Get Smart Poster Get Smart
Get Smart is the perfect movie for knowing exactly what you're getting and getting it done well. Sometimes you just want to see an action comedy and you want to know that the guys will deliver. Well, I certainly want to see an action-comedy with Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson and Alan Arkin. That's what I want to see.

Review: Get Smart

I think they even know they're just playing in a familiar sandbox. They're just doing their twist on the standard walk down corridors, skydiving fight, airplane bathroom, laser slither, etc.

You've got to admire how blatantly stuff happens. Like it's the obvious payoff but man, they just did it anyway. It's very matter of fact slapstick. Then comes the twist that justifies it with a sincere, deadpan reaction. Responding to what you'd expect but can't quite believe still happened is the real joke.

The action is great. It's big, loud and over the top like the best of Michael Bay and Arnold Schwarzenegger. There is a good flow to the photography with multiple visual threads.

It all works because it is heartfelt and fun. They are sincere about this, not condescending to the masses. They even have the most sensitive fat joke I've ever seen. Even a pee joke is funny because it's Steve Carell doing a pee joke.

This is Steve Carell's leap to mega stardom. His deadpan commitment to the mundane works even better here than it does on The Office. Dwayne Johnson has the overly cool hero thing down and Hathaway's cocky agent is just the right foil. There are happy silly cameos and supporting players embracing the one note they've been assigned.

Smart isn't bumbling. He's just in funny circumstances. Gadgets don't work right or something mundane complicates his action stunt. He knows it's ridiculous too, so he just keeps his dignity and even punctuates embarrassments with cool self deprecation. Or, something silly pays off as an actual part of a smart plan.

The whole thing is played like a Bond movie. The action is intense and the drama is heavy. It's just things don't work out like they do for Bond. They've even got their own Jaws.

There's some bad green screen but that's hardly the point. Get Smart is just doing its job and it's likely to be the most successful crowd pleaser of the summer.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros.

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