STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $22.99
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
• Alternate Version
• Gag Reel
• Spying on Bruce and Lloyd’s Out of Control
• Languange Lessons: Spotlight on Linguistics
• Mad in Moscow: Real or Soundstage?
• Behind the Scenes training


The Pitch

The most infamous spy spoof since James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod gets the Carell treatment.

‘Limit one Frodo Sword per customer’?  FUCK THIS CATALOG,

The Humans

Cast: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Alan Arkin, Dwayne Johnson, Terrence Stamp

Director: Peter Segal

The Nutshell

Maxwell Smart (Carell), a talented analyst and desk-jockey-for-life for CONTROL, a shadowy government agency, desperately wants to become a field agent.  After a devastating break-in at CONTROL headquarters, Smart finally gets a shot his dream job.  Paired up with veteran Agent 99 (Hathaway) and up against the deadly international terror group KAOS, will Smart’s bumbling but surprisingly effective techniques be enough to save the world from disaster?  Alan Arkin co-stars as the CONTROL Chief, and Dwayne “Don’t call me the Rock anymore, please” Johnson assists as the suave agent 23.

Fans were disappointed with Memento‘s lackluster deleted scenes.

The Lowdown

The Get Smart property seems like a perfect fit for Steve Carell’s unique and plentiful talents.  He’s adept at playing awkward, funny, and wonderfully relatable characters, so the goofy-but-effective Maxwell Smart character has the potential to work wonders for him.  While the film isn’t very good, Carell does a decent job capitalizing on his Daily Show/40 year old Virgin goodwill, making Get Smart a somewhat pleasant diversion.

The cast does decent work, led by Carell in a very entertaining turn as the iconic Bond imitator.  What’s great about this role is that Carell’s Smart isn’t so much an American Clouseau as he is a clumsy but funny James Bond.  Sure, he relies on luck a lot more than Bond ever does, but he’s much cleverer than Clouseau, and he’s usually in on the joke, even when he’s the butt.  Smart is a very light character, for sure, but he’s pretty fun to watch here. 

Carell’s chemistry with Hathaway is sometimes questionable, due mostly to the large age differential, which is explained away in the movie using a tongue-in-cheek plastic surgery plot device. Hathaway seems to enjoy her turn as the effective and impatient Agent 99, and plays a decent straight man to Carell.  Johnson’s Agent 23 pops in and out for a few jokes that don’t always work, and Alan Arkin doesn’t break anything as the often frustrated CONTROL head honcho. 

The only thing notorious Leavenworth inmate Jimmy “Lardpaws” Bonano liked better than eating lard was strangling children.

Terence Stamp’s big bad only appears in a handfull of scenes.  More impressive is cinematic megafauna Dalip Singh (WWF’s The Great Khali), whose imposing presence and gargantuan chin might be just a little spectacular. Nate Torrence and Heroes‘ Masi Oka appear as supporting analyst nerds who secretly help Carell, and David Koechner and Terry Crews pair up as arrogant analyst foils. While Koechner and Crews seem like funny guys, these supporting analysts always feel like a sound board for second-tier jokes.  At 110 minutes, Get Smart feels a little bloated for such a light comedy, so it’s a wonder that these four mostly inconsequential roles weren’t trimmed. Which brings me to Smart‘s main failing: the story doesn’t feel very well crafted at all.  It suffers from a very common action-comedy split personality disorder, whereby the film never really knows whether it’s an action film or a comedy, and often fails at both more than it succeeds at either.  Carell shoulders much of the laughs in the first two acts, but the third act is a pony show of tacit action tropes that provides little humor and even fewer surprises.  If you don’t see the third act “twist” coming miles in advance, you must not watch very many movies. 

When the humor works, it’s mostly thanks to Carell, and when it doesn’t, it’s almost always the fault of the writing. There’s a laserbeam security room gag that feels ten years too late to be funny, as well as a completely hackneyed dance-off between Carell and Hathaway.  Alan Arkin’s ample talents are wasted as the chief.

Masi Oka was a vicious, gun-toting nose thief before Heroes made him a star. 
Also, I am contractually obligated by my handlers to say the following:

The weird thing about Get Smart is that it’s not good enough to endorse, but not bad enough to reject.  It’s a very middle-of-the-road comedy that might be worth catching during a flight or on television.  What’s frustrating is that with a few editing tweaks and story changes, Get Smart could have been a really funny, lean, and entertaining comedy.

Although it can’t entirely overcome its flaws, Get Smart is an entertaining diversion.  If you’re a Carell fan, you’ll probably find something to like here.

The Package

There are a feast of extras, including director commentary, a making-of documentary, and an extended version featuring deleted and alternate scenes.  What’s really annoying about the extended version is that the movie STOPS COLD and displays a huge telephone booth gif image when an alternate scene becomes available.  This makes watching the extended version for the first time a waking nightmare.  Since Get Smart isn’t really all that rewatchable to begin with, it would have been better if they’d compiled the deleted scenes in a separate group in a bonus feature menu like the rest of the DVDs made on planet Earth.

Unless you really liked the movie, I wouldn’t recommend watching the documentaries, as they aren’t very funny.

Surprisingly, the audio isn’t very good.  The center channel  sounds really weak, and while you should be able to tweak this, you shouldn’t have to.  It’s one of the worst mixes I’ve heard in a while.  The video, though, looks great when upscaled to 1080p.

6 out of 10