Get Smart

By Gerald Aaron, August 22, 2008

The reworking of Mel Brooks's iconic 1960s spy spoof movie is every bit as funny and clever as the original


The spirit of comic genius Mel Brooks, who co-created the iconic 1960s spy spoof Get Smart, happily hangs over this very funny big-screen reworking that entertainingly updates the original.

Notes director Peter Segal: "We didn't want to recreate it but to contemporise it." He certainly succeeds, aided and abetted by Steve Carrell's sharp performance as espionage-analyst-turned-secret-agent Maxwell Smart, smart contributions from Anne Hathaway as his reluctant partner Agent 99 and scene-stealer Alan Arkin as Chief of the super-secret US spy agency Control.

Get Smart doesn't pretend to be anything more than sheer comic entertainment and as such it succeeds splendidly.

When Control headquarters are decimated by the diabolical Kaos organisation, über-nerdy analyst Smart achieves his ambition to be a field operative, and, partnered by 99, is sent by Chief Arkin to thwart key Kaos villain Siegfried (a thoroughly enjoyable camp send-up by Terence Stamp) to save the day.

Which, of course, he does, helped by a series of daft gadgets that would turn 007's Q green with envy.

There are also super stunts involving a healthy helping of explosions, car chases and airborne extravaganzas that impress even in the extravagantly comic story they decorate.

The jokes are good and the dialogue is witty ("The next 700 pages can get a little dry," Smart tells the security meeting at which he is presenting his latest report). And there are some loony set pieces. When Smart finds chewing gum on the sole of his shoe while flying off to his mission and tries to scrape it off with a match, he ends up being arrested as a shoe bomber by an air marshal.

The witty screenplay is played to the hilt by all concerned, notably Carrell who, having comprehensively upstaged co-creator Ricky Gervais in the American version of The Office and become a cinema star as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, gives a hilarious performance that is all the more entertaining for being played poker-faced and without any mugging.

Get smart and enjoy!

Last updated: 2:59pm, February 18 2011