There are plenty of old TV shows that have terrific potential to be remade as movies. However, as history has shown us, that doesn't mean that the eventual remakes are going to be an improvement. "Get Smart" isn't an improvement over the classic TV series, but it's at least a basically entertaining take on the tale of bumbling agent Max Smart (played here by Carrell.) The best thing I can say about the film is that I wouldn't be against the idea of a sequel.
As the film opens, Smart heads to work as an analyst at CONTROL, a super-secret spy organization that many think was closed years ago. Max wants nothing more than to be a field agent, and looks up to Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson, otherwise known as "The Rock"), whose introduction sees him grabbing a fly out of the air and chucking it in the waste basket. Two tech workers frown over the insect, which was actually a top secret project that cost millions. Despite good test scores, Smart is still needed as an analyst.
When evil organization KAOS attacks CONTROL headquarters and leaves the HQ nearly destroyed, Smart is finally given his promotion. He is, however, paired up with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), a chilly, slick operative who is not exactly pleased to have to take Smart along with her on a mission to Russia in order to find the KAOS weapons lab.
"Get Smart" is short on plot - the picture mainly uses the plot to hang countless gags on, but - to my pleasant surprise - they're actually funny, especially some of the smaller, throwaway gags. Carrell - who has a tendency to go a little too far into slapstick territory at times in some of his recent roles - is hysterically funny, oddly enough, due to the choice to go a little serious with a character that could have been overly wacky. Carrell's take on Smart is bumbling, but not so much as to be irritating, which was another good call. He's also terrific with Hathaway, and the two have good chemistry together. Bill Murray has an amusing - if brief - cameo early in the movie.
The movie does feel long at 110 minutes, but again, as these kinds of remakes go, "Get Smart" does benefit from a fine approach to the humor, some great gags and a solid cast.
VIDEO: "Get Smart" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation did show some mild flaws at times, but was somewhat above average overall. Sharpness and detail varied throughout the film, as while most scenes appeared crisp and well-defined, some stretches could appear noticeably softer (if not to the point of being hazy or blurry.)
Also of concern were a few instances of mild edge enhancement, which did cause some distraction. A couple of traces of pixelation were also spotted, but no print flaws were seen. Colors appeared bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. Flesh tones looked accurate, and black level seemed solid, as well.
SOUND: "Get Smart" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Given the few action sequences, the film does put the surrounds to use at times for effects and ambiance, but during the less intense moments, the audio folds up to the front. Audio quality is above-average, with clear dialogue and punchy effects.
EXTRAS: "Smart Takes" is a feature that allows users to see alternate takes or deleted scenes at points throughout the film (a "click on an icon to see the scene" feature.)
Final Thoughts: "Get Smart" does benefit from a fine approach to the humor, some great gags and a solid cast. The DVD edition boasts good audio/video quality, but not much in the way of extras (those interested in more supplements can choose the 2-DVD Special Edition for a few dollars more.) Recommended.
The Film B