June 23, 2008
Despite what one of my friends claims as her only explicable reason for not loving Get Smart, Steve Carrell’s latest foray into the comedy scene contained next to none of the despicably overused crotch humor all of decent civilization has finally come to despise.
If you haven’t heard about this film… well, first of all, I’m surprised. It got plenty of ad time, and Steve Carrell is currently a comedy darling. You really should have heard of this movie by now. But, if you haven’t, here’s a very brief description: This is a film adaptation of a popular TV comedy of the same name about a secret spy organization built to combat their evil Soviet counterparts. The movie ends up being your typical action comedy, of which there are simply too few.
Let me rephrase. There are far too few good action comedies. Shanghai NOON, Rush Hour (ONE), The Mummy, and, to some degree, the Indiana Jones movies are all great examples, but there really aren’t a lot of them. And when they’re done well, they’re an absolute blast and a half. I think that no other genre (hybrid or no) can satisfy the need for fun quite like it.
And Get Smart was an awful lot of fun. I haven’t laughed that hard in a theater in… oh, who knows? I laughed, out loud and often. And by the end of the movie, all I could do was smile — and decide to see it again in the near future.
First of all, this is Steve Carrell at his best. He was perfectly cast for this part, and he doesn’t succumb to any predictability in filling the role. I was constantly impressed with the uniqueness of his quirky character.
Anne Hathaway was a much tougher sell because I haven’t seen The Devil Wears Prada (I do plan on it, I promise) [note: I finally saw it, and it's brilliant], and so I can’t claim to have ever enjoyed watching her on screen. Well, she did a fabulous job in this film. I adored her character. She was professional, capable, sexy, uptight and almost completely believable. Shoot, I even bought the chemistry between her and Carrell. Awesome work, dudes (who made this movie.)
The rest of the cast worked great as well. There were no weak spots to speak of. Even The Rock managed to make me believe, for large segments of the film, that he was actually an actor. Good job, big guy — it was hard for him, but he pulled it off. (And he wasn’t starring, which was… well, needless to say it was essential for the success of this movie.)
I could go on. I won’t. See this movie. Take the kids, even. Sure, it’s PG-13, but this is a family film as far as I’m concerned. It’s one which possesses that rare quality of being accessible and satisfying to almost every type of person. So go have a blast.
Jordan Petersen is a film correspondent for Rhombus. The magazine occasionally publishes his Vintage Reviews of older films.
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