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 Get Smart
 Critic's Rating
   [B]
 Date Posted
   8th July, 2008
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Cast: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson
Director: Peter Segal

"Get Smart" is essentially an "Austin Powers" movie without being very crude. It is safer in terms of its jokes, but funny (though never very funny) in most situations. The characters all behave a little stupidly or in very literal ways and the film pokes fun at an entire genre (spy movies generally, Bond and cohorts specifically) existing primarily on the chemistry of both Steve Carell as Agent Max and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99. In the hands of Carell, who retains his "gee shucks" likeability from "40 year old virgin" and coats it with a mock, knowing seriousness that in such a misfit of character traits that it enhances the silliness and perhaps saves the film from being simply absurd.

The film has charm, chemistry, humour and a good amount of brisk action scenes, but perhaps not too much of either of those elements to make anything truly a stand out. As an overall experience, it has enough to make you satisfied knowing that it might get better or funnier, or even faster (the film is nearly 2 hours long and it sometimes seems to drag) but it sadly doesn't. As a spoof though it is fresher than the recent assault of badly made and crassly executed films of this sort have been. Had it stuck to that bad trend, "Get Smart" might not have offered a good fight scene filmed while free falling or such an explosive finale that felt it could have belonged in a lighter Bruckheimer film.

If anything, the film is harmless and inoffensive in its humour which again ties into Carell's presence. Like an early Ben Stiller, he exists to provide laughs that are directly proportional to their level of humiliation caused, but he remains someone, in film after film, that you can relate to. If some of the jokes fall flat (like the many one-liners) there are others spirited enough to crack you up. Even though, by the end, the film might seem to have overstayed its welcome, you feel better to have been in its company. - Faizan Rashid

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