Friday, June 27, 2008

Get Smart

Ok, I'll admit. The real reason I wanted to see this movie was because of the preview where Steve Carell flings the phone receiver at the guy while yelling, "I think you forgot the element of SURPRIIIIIAAAHH." Thankfully, I was not disappointed. I've never seen the original show, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well done this movie was. And yet. Somehow, by a strange combination of factors the movie seems to fall forgettably between being an awful summer trash-fest, and an amazing summer classic.

Maxwell Smart (Carell) is an analyst for the CIA rival Control who dreams of becoming a field agent. And when the identities of every agent becomes comprised Max and Agent 99 are the only ones left to step up. What's great about Max is that he's not entirely incompetent. In fact, he's quite good at his job, he's just a little clumsy and still a bit green. This makes it almost as delightful when he gets it right, as it is when he screws it up. This also makes it possible for Max to be just a funny guy in general. If he's competent then it's so much funnier when he describes the bad guy as having "one of those Easter Island heads."

Whoever cast this movie deserves props because Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell play off of each other perfectly. Somehow they manage to make you feel their individual frustration with each other, all the while secretly recognizing it for foreplay. Even The Rock was great here. Oh, sorry. He's simply Dwayne Johnson now. I've always liked watching him in various roles, but never thought he was that attractive. This movie changed my mind.

As with all secret agent movies, there are moments when you wonder at the hero's logic. Why he would use the cross-bow function on a knife to cut off his cuffs? Who knows and who cares? It's more amusing to watch him accidentally pierce himself.
But even with so many great jokes, and great plot structure, and great pacing, I managed to leave the theater and immediately forget most of the film. It was a good movie, and gave a solid hour and a half of fun. And yet, I have a feeling that in a few years I'll be saying, "Wait, did I see that movie? I think so . . ."

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