Get Smart

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: -2

Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, Terry Crews. Warner Bros. Pictures / Village Roadshow Pictures. Written by Written by Tom J. Astle & Matt Ember. Based on characters created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Directed by Peter Segal.

FILM SYNOSPSIS: Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) is on a mission to thwart the latest plot for world domination by the evil crime syndicate known as KAOS. When the headquarters of U.S. spy agency Control is attacked and the identities of its agents compromised, the Chief (Alan Arkin) has no choice but to promote his ever-eager analyst Maxwell Smart, who has always dreamt of working in the field alongside stalwart superstar Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson). Smart is partnered instead with the lovely-but-lethal veteran Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway). Given little field experience and even less time, Smartarmed with nothing but a few spy-tech gadgets and his unbridled enthusiasmmust thwart the doomsday plans of KAOS head Siegfried (Terance Stamp).

PREVIEW REVIEW: Major disappointment. The film focuses on action adventure (like we dont have enough of those right now) rather than a tribute to the comic nonsense we recall from the television series. Admittedly, the best parts of the TV version were the opening credits and the cone of silence, where the only people unable to hear the conversation were the two actually in the cone of silence. There was, however, a 60s TV innocence about the original that, coupled with the casting of funnyman Don Adams and the wily wit of creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, has proven difficult to transfer to another time and another medium. (In an era of micro-mini cell phones, for instance, a shoe phone fails to astonish.) Though Steve Carell is both a gifted comedian and a believable actor (Dan in Real Life), the half-hour spoof of spy shows seems diminished by the movie versions violence and the rougher humor now accepted by many of todays moviegoers.

It would be unfair to blame Hollywood solely for crudity in the culture. But I cant tell you how often I have viewed screenings of comedies where wit took a back seat to the visual gross-out in order to obtain a laugh. I guess its easier to write about bodily functions than to satirize the human condition. Often todays movie humor banks on what I call the I-cantbelieve-I-justsaw-that factor. You know, the little old lady giving an obscene gesture, the inebriated spinster suddenly feigning the femme fatale, or the dog romancing an inanimate object. The shock visual is simply easier for many writers than the urbane quip. Well, this film doesnt degenerate into the coarseness of say, The Love Guru, but, nor does it search for a clever spin. Its just not smart writing. Considering the title of the movie, youd think the producers would have attempted to update the old gags with something fresh and amusing. They didnt. Would you believe

DVD Alternative: A Shot In the Dark. Peter Sellers Inspector Clouseau falls for a beautiful murder suspect in this hilarious follow-up to The Pink Panther. One of the best of that series.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Action Comedy

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Some crude terms referring to the male and female body.

Obscene Language: Along with around six obscenities (mostly the s-word) and 15 expletives, there are also several crude sexual terms.

Profanity: Variations of the term Oh my God are heard at least six times.

Violence: Many of the action sequences are played for laughs, but surprisingly, the film is full of visual tumult, including hits to the groin, assassinations, car crashes and explosives, several physical and gun battles, and a jolting shot of a man hit by the bus; its not that the films violence is all that violent, but it is excessive, making it unsuitable for little ones. Blood: Some blood, not much.

Sex: Sexuality is hinted at and played for laughs, using female cleavage to titillate and lead to several sexual remarks.

Nudity: A brief shot of male backside nudity, played for laughs.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many gags mined from sexual references.

Drugs: Background characters are seen drinking.

Other: Whether the President deserves it or not, the Bush bashing is becoming as old as the catch phrase, Would you believe

Running Time: 110 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.