Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Would you believe

We went to see Get Smart yesterday; I loved it. It’s like a fungus. Just a little fuzzy at first, but then it grows on you.

Of course, I walked into the theatre with mixed feelings. Get Smart was one of my favorite television programs, way back when. And in the first moments of the movie, my laughs were pure reflex. I wanted to like it, but it sounded like the producers had laid down the wrong chords, but then I settled into the rhythm of it. It was a standard Hollywood spy movie, with a world-saving plot and wowzer special effects, twisted until it fit into Maxwell Smart’s world.

No one does hapless but determined better than Steve Carell, and that’s how he plays Max. Not as the clueless but lucky bumbler from television, but as a bright man with a balance problem, a fellow who can lose the objective in the details, strong on theory but short of practice.

Carell is fast becoming one of my favorite actors. He can do broad comedy, or go for the joke that required thought, all the while presenting a character that you care for, and his Max is funny because he is in there, sometimes missing his intended target, by that much, but always trying as hard as he can.

A bit of monolog Max has in one scene says it all. “We have to look at them (KAOS agents) as people. Sure, they’re evil, but that’s what they do, not who they are.”

Anyway, there are genuine laughs, exciting action scenes, poignant moments, and Anne Hathaway (as Agent 99), beating the snot out of the bad guys, all the while looking sexy in dynamite outfits. Barbara Feldon couldn’t have done it any better.

Alan Arkin, as the Chief, and The Rock (I don’t care if he does want to be called Dwayne Johnson, he still looks like The Rock), as Agent 23, carry some of the weight, too, particularly when the Chief cold-cocks an annoying FBI agent and when Agent 23 demonstrates how to use a stapler. And James Caan is perfect as the POTUS, a man with a touch of southwest twang and no clue as to what is going on in the world.

What more can you ask from a summer movie? Get Smart; go see it.