Monday, May 3, 2010
Get Smart (2008)
Writer: Tom J. Astle &Matt Ember
Mel Brooks & Buck Henry (characters)
Starring: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Alan Arkin, the Rock, Terence Stamp, and a whole bunch of other people you've
heard of and needed a paycheck
Synopsis: control agent maxwell bumbles his way through a mission with agent 99. their convoluted mission is to find nuclear bombs that were stolen by nemisis organization kaos. they fail. the bombs turn up in los angeles at the disney concert hall. in an assassination attempt on the dim witted president. shockingly, along the way agent 99 falls for max, and the rock is jealous, and fat joke, gay joke, poop joke, nerd joke, fat joke.
OK. We watched this movie. I have a feeling that these two reviews will be pretty well in agreement.
The entire thing was overworked. Beginning with an opening sequence which stretched a good joke from the TV show well past its breaking point, few scenes were of the right length. There is no fucking way that this should have been almost two hours. There was probably some post-credits joke that we missed, and I'm OK with that as there was exactly one laugh-out-loud joke.
I also have a problem with an entire spy agency full of incompetence which just happens to stumble upon the truth. Steve Carrell's aspiring-analyst-turned-agent-by-improbable-events would have rang true if he were surrounded by talent when he made the jump, but outside of the chief (an underused Alan Arkin who got to deliver the only truly funny line) what's-her-face's Agent 99 was the only character with any competence, though she's less attractive than Barbara Feldman. One could argue that the (spoiler alert except the milk stunk through the whole thing) incompetence of The Rock's character was due to his double-agency, but this argument is undermined by his introductory sequence. While the other analysts (those couple of dudes from movies like, "Anchorman") and the tech department ("Superbad" fat kid[the woman interjects here.. this was not the kid from superbad] and the time traveler from "Heroes") were just dipshits, I suppose you could say that the Cone of Silence gag was marginally funny. Similarly, KAOS was just as disorganized and just as incompetent as Control to the point where you have NO IDEA how they could have gotten so much uranium or all the necessary bomb parts. And the ending with the music was just fucking dumb. When a scene is elevated by an exposed-ass joke little more needs saying. This movie also had a gay joke which was just GAY.
Acting in general was unterrible. Carrell could have done more with better material, and I think The Rock was exactly in his comfort zone (granted, I haven't seen his work with children or animals so it's possible that I'm underestimating his range). The rest of the supporting cast was also better than the scripts, with Terence Stamp a particular standout and Arkin stealing the show with the only line probably written by Mel Brooks (another spoiler, but now you don't have to watch the movie):
Seriously, I can't remember the last time we watched a movie where the production staff even tried to look like they gave a fuck. Except for the editors (who didn't even get past junior high) this was another Dawson Leary Film School exercise. Direction was by-the-numbers, and production was exactly what you'd expect. Effects, too, were right where they should have been given the budget. Consisting of little more than a distorted-guitar "update" of the theme song, the music was so rote as to take you out of the action.
You don't have to watch this movie. Just click on the video above and send me what you would have paid.
was this a summer blockbuster? i can't remember that far back. it reeks of summer blockbuster. the plot is, i think, trying to be mysterious, and twisty, but just ended up being confusing. i had a hard time using steve carell to counter my disdain for anne hathaway and the rock. all the bits that were supposed to be funny just turned out stupid. mel brooks can somehow always turn stupid, base humor funny, but seeing as how this was not written by him, and he was only a "consultant" it seemed like someone trying to rip his style off, but failing miserably. there were some mildly funny bits, but nothing too memorable. terence stamp is so awesome and yet in this, he was a sort of a bit part portraying the main villan. how does that work you may ask? well, it doesn't. the action sequences were too long. i found myself not paying attention halfway through them, which once again is kind of the antithesis of the term action sequence. the only funny part where we actually laughed out loud, was when steve carell in a car chase scene slams through, among many other things, a golf shack with a swordfish on it , and the swordfish statue spears the car. after this is all over, steve carell asks alan arkin, who was sitting passenger "are you thinking what i'm thinking?" and alan arking says " i don't know. were you thinking holy shit, holy shit, a swordfish almost went through my head..." there. now you don't have to suffer through two hours for one funny line.
my final thought about this was it's one of those movies where hollywood just likes to throw away tons of money on a "new contemporary" version, and all that really happens is otherwise funny actors come together in a big sad mess, that probably banked on the draw of said actors, and not the content of the movie. this truly sucked. not "indiana jones and the condom for george lucas's anus" sucked, but close.