Although panned by critics, Get Smart proved to be a success for Warner, who invested a mere $80 million in the project and came out with nearly three times that with worldwide box office receipt totals. With a solid cast led by Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, Get Smart made for an entertaining time at the movie theater, with its perfect modernization of the classic Mel Brooks TV series , complete with throw backs (both visually and aurally) and plenty of on-sight gags that are classic pieces from the beloved series.
Steve Carell is in CONTROL as Maxwell Smart, the novice agent often out of his depth but never out of options in this action comedy pitting him against the nuclear scheme of the evil spy group KAOS. Anne Hathaway partners with max as ever-capable Agent 99. And director Peter Segal (The Longest Yard) guides his stars (including Dwayne Johnson and Alan Arkin) through the dangerous realm of molar radios, multifunction pocketknives, exploding dental floss and more.
Perhaps it’s because I didn’t expect much at all from this comedy other than a few laughs (based on my knowledge of Steve Carell, even if the rest of the movie sucks, he usually is good for a few laughs at least), but I really was genuinely surprised by the quality of this film. That is across the board, as everything from the acting, writing and the directing was all just a lot better than I had expected from a small spy/comedy flick. Low expectations are usually best to maintain with any film, but needless to say if you enjoyed the original series, then there’s plenty of jokes to love in Get Smart.
That’s not to say that the film is just a big rip off of the original series, of course. While there are a myriad of throw-backs to the film, none of it overshadows the film itself which manages to be effortlessly entertaining from beginning to end. Carell’s Smart is a loveable guy who isn’t quite as bumbling as the original (although there are definitely moments) and one who manages to keep the laughs coming, whether they’re subtle or laugh-out-loud. There isn’t a whole lot of originality to the jokes in the film, although a few are taken to the extreme (one involving a barf bag may be…the grossest thing I’ve seen in a long time), but a nice, easy to watch film with genuinely humorous jokes is more than enough when it comes to this type of movie.
One thing I did notice about the film was how it was directed. Segal shot it almost like an episode of 24, with plenty of shaky cam footage as well as an overall “realness” to the shots themselves. The sequence on the train tracks especially felt like something you’d find in 24 and overall as funny as the film was, it was visually stimulating as well. Part of that may have to do with Anne Hathaway though.
As hilarious and genuinely entertaining as this film was, there really isn’t too much to say about it. It’s just shy of two hours but it fly’s by if you allow yourself to get caught up in the story. Sure, some of the double agent and love triangle stuff is old hat, but there’s only so much to expect from a movie like Get Smart and as long as it makes me laugh, that’s all I require. With plenty of deadpan jokes that always hit their mark (one involving Alan Arkin and a swordfish remains my favorite bit from the film), Get Smart is just a genuinely entertaining and exciting film to watch. You won’t be blown away but anything in particular, but you will enjoy what’s here. Recommended.
If you pick up the Blu-ray release of Get Smart and remark to yourself “Holy crap, this thing is heavy!” don’t be too excited. While there is a 3D reflective cover (what is it with studios lately and the 3D cover? I’ve seen more in the past two months than I have the past year) to add weight to it, it’s the three discs inside that are the main culprits. Don’t get too excited, however—while there may be three discs, only one is of any real use. The second is the digital copy (for which an insert is included as well) and a bonus DVD-Rom game entitled “Get Smart: Kaos Control.” Yeah, so neither are things you’ll be too excited to check out and you may find yourself with a nifty three-disc single width Blu-ray case if you chuck out the unnecessary baggage and condense it to a single disc case.
First up on the docket is the VC-1 encoded 1.85:1 1080p transfer that accompanies us for the duration of the film. With its unique cinematography and overall look of the film, Get Smart comes through looking quite nice with incredible clarity and definition throughout the duration of the film. From Maxwell’s ripped and shredded suit to Hathaway’s many outfits, Get Smart is a nice feast for the eyes, but not something you want to use to show off a home theater set up. The accompanying audio track isn’t even of the lossless variety, however, as Warner has once again included a DD5.1 track only for this release. Why they continue to do this I’ve no idea; granted this is a pretty standard film and as is it sounds fine, but a little extra clarity boost and richer bass would’ve been nice. Oh well. Alternate French, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 tracks are available, as are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
The extras for this release is pretty basic, without any real bonus content to speak of that’s worth watching. Of course the “62% More ‘Laughs’” footage mentioned on the front cover is here, which totals up to an intro (0:40) and the footage (45:27) spliced into the rest of the film. An icon activates in the corner signifying that it’s new or alternate footage, but the icon never goes away which is rather annoying. This footage is the only high-definition extra on the set, with the rest of the extras being presented in standard definition.
For the rest of the extras we have “The Old ‘I Hid it in the Movie’ Trick” (9:04) which discusses the throwbacks to the TV series in the film, “The Right Agent for the Right Job” (10:30) discusses the casting, “Max in Moscow!” (6:20) shows on-set footage, “Language Lessons” (3:29) is Carell talking in various languages in front of the camera, most of which I’m pretty sure is just gibberish, a “The Vomit Reel” (5:19) which sounds funnier than it is, “Spy Confidential” (5:39) is your run of the mill gag reel and “Spying on Get Smart’s Bruce and Llloyd Out of Control” (3:12) is a preview for the DTV that preceded the theatrical release of this film.
As you can see the extras aren’t exactly noteworthy or even worth watching for that matter. I would’ve preferred a commentary at least, but nada. Because of the rather lackluster extras you aren’t gaining anything over the DVD edition aside from the 1080p transfer, which may not be enough for many people to pick up this release over the cheaper DVD. Sure the video is superior, but Blu-ray fans often go for the audio as much as the video, so getting a standard DD5.1 track with this film is more than disappointing. Still, this release is Recommended, whichever format you buy it on (and now the Blu-ray exclusive DVD game is not worth it, if you’re wondering).
Get Smart is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.