Monday, June 23, 2008

Get Smart

Way too many TV shows get remade as feature films and fail miserably. I'm happy to say, "Get Smart" doesn't fall into that trap. It is a fun, updated homage to the TV show starring Don Adams but it "smartly" avoids the pitfalls that have caused so many to crash and burn at the box office.

Steve Carrell is the perfect choice to play Maxwell Smart, Agent 86. Mr. Carrell doesn't try to mimic Mr. Adam's role but instead finds an original voice while staying true to the character. Even the familiar catchphrases are spoken as casual remarks without any forced fanfare. Ann Hathaway assumes the role of Agent 99, originally played by Barbara Felton and she too breathes new life into the character while remaining true to the spirit. Alan Arkin plays the Chief as more of a departure from the original but is still quite effective. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is well cast as Agent 23 and there are quite a few surprise cameos.

Taking a 1/2 hour comedy to the big screen requires the filmmakers to up the ante for action and special effects. The film delivers on all fronts. There is plenty of action, terrific stunt work and lots of legitimate laughs.

A very enjoyable summer comedy that works... and sets up the inevitable sequel.

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