All that is required for a comedy like Get Smart (110 minutes) to succeed is a willingness to laugh. Written by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, based on characters created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry for the original television series, the movie reads as a better than average satire of a 1960s spy movie. In other words, a kid-friendly version of Austin Powers, meaning Get Smart is a spy satire without the constant sexual innuendo. This really does make the casting of Steven Carell a bit of inspired genius, since he specializes in playing the sweet, goofy, well intentioned idiot types. Peter Segal, who first won my love with 50 First Dates back in 2004 seems fairly well suited to this lighthearted fare, and he makes no real missteps. If only one could say the same about Astle and Ember! The dialogue is fine, but the pacing could use some work, and the latter half of the movie seems to go on and on.
    Just as in the television series, Maxwell Smart (Carell) is a prize agent at Control. However, the U.S. spy agency is suffering from loss of funding and lack of government support due to the end of the Cold War and the supposed dissolution of KAOS, the evil spies Control was meant to, um, control. This updated version of Smart has failed the agents’ exam a number of times, but keeps a positive attitude. When KAOS somehow compromises Control, the Chief (Alan Arkin) promotes Smart to agent 86 and partners him with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway). In the background works Agent 23 (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), who expresses his frustration at being stuck in the office in a number of ways (stapler to the head!). While Smart and Agent 99 attempt to unravel the intricate schemes of KAOS, the head of KAOS, Siegfried (Terence Stamp) plots with an unknown accomplice within Control to undermine democracy and assassinate the President of the United States (James Caan).
    {mosimage}The Good: Masi Oka plays Bruce the tech guy! He was in Heroes! The Bad: Masi Oka! He deserves a much bigger part! The Funniest: Completely random shot of an overflowing vomit bag. The Slightly Embarrassing: Steve Carell’s attempt to work the classic Maxwell Smart delivery made famous by Don Adams. He does it correctly sometimes, but he mostly just sounds like Michael Scott. 
    It was a given that Get Smart would be funnier than the stale, clichéd, wreck that is Mike Myers’ new movie, and the box office certainly favors the former. However, I was still looking at my watch before the first hour was up. Anne Hathaway is a cutie, Steve Carell is very good at what he does, but something here isn’t working. Even so, just because this isn’t in the same league as The 40 Year Old Virgin and The Office doesn’t mean it’s a joyless exercise in futility either. Everyone laughed, and the number of cameos and guest stars made for an entertaining series of Hey! It’s That Guy! moments. Fans of The Naked Gun will find Maxwell Smart similar to LT. Frank Drebin, and this is a fairly nice redo for fans of the original             television series.  

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