out of Five
Running time: 111
Entertaining, smartly acted spy comedy that delivers thrills and laughs in equal measure, while throwing in enough material to keep fans of the TV series happy.
What's it all about?
Get Smart is an updated big screen version of the fondly remembered 1960s spy spoof sitcom (repeated on Channel 4 in the 1980s) by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Steve Carell plays Maxwell Smart, an analyst with top-secret American spy agency CONTROL, who is desperate to become a field agent but continually frustrated because he's good at what he does and the Chief (Alan Arkin) needs him where he is.
However, when evil crime syndicate KAOS - led by the villainous Siegfried (Terence Stamp) - mounts an attack on CONTROL and knocks several agents out of commission, the Chief is forced to promote Max to agent status and team him with super-cool agents 99 (Anne Hathaway) and 23 (Dwayne Johnson). Can Max foil KAOS' plans for world domination?
Director Peter Segal (The Naked Gun 33 1/3) maintains a good balance between character-based comedy, action set-pieces, gadget-based gags and fun references to the original TV show. Carell's Smart may be less of a bumbling idiot than Don Adams' was, but his deadpan humour is perfectly suited to the role and he still manages to get himself into some amusingly painful situations.
The supporting cast are equally good, particularly Anne Hathaway, who manages to be super-sexy and super-cool while still convincing us that she might actually be attracted to Max (they have surprisingly good chemistry). There's also terrific work from Johnson, Arkin, James Caan (as a Bush-alike President) and, in blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos, Bill Murray and Patrick Warburton.
To be fair, the film is slightly more concerned with action than it is with comedy, which means that the gag rate isn't quite as high as it should have been.
That said, Get Smart is an entertaining comedy thriller that should please fans and newcomers alike. Recommended (and newcomers should check out the original series on DVD).