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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Peter Segal
Cast:
Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, Terry Crews, David Koechner, Patrick Warburton, James Caan, Bill Murray
Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, Mel Brooks (characters), Buck Henry (characters)

Tagline:
Saving The World. And Loving It.

Synopsis:
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 guides his stars (including Dwayne Johnson and Alan Arkin) through the dangerous realm of molar radios, multifunction pocketknives, exploding dental floss and more. "Get Smart works as an action film and its funny." (Richard Roeper, At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper)

Box Office:
Budget
$80 million.
Opening Weekend
$38.683 million on 3911 screens.
Domestic Gross
$130.246 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 11/4/2008

Bonus:
DVD One:
• “Smart Takes” Alternate Scenes
• Previews
DVD Two:
• “The Right Agent for the Right Job” Featurette
• “Max in Moscow!” Featurette
• “Language Lessons” Featurette
• “Spy Confidential” Gag Reel
Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd: Out of Control Sneak Peek


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Get Smart: Special Edition (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 28, 2008)

Perhaps someday Hollywood will stop adapting TV series for the big screen, but not today. Not as long as those cinematic updates do well at the box office, which was the case for 2008’s Get Smart. A new take on the classic 1960s spy spoof, Smart made a respectable $130 million, a figure likely good enough to spawn a sequel or two.

Here we meet Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell), an analyst for a secret US spy organization called CONTROL. He longs to be a field agent and idolizes super-slick Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson) but the Chief (Alan Arkin) prefers to use Max in a technical capacity.

Eventually Max gets his promotion when KAOS attacks the CONTROL headquarters. With many operatives dead or otherwise out of commission, Max gets his much-desired promotion – and a partner, too, in the form of sexy Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway). The film follows their attempts to uncover the plot at KAOS and get things back to normal.

Some movies give off an aura that they’ll either be great or terrible. Smart never emitted that sense, and the end result lived up to that feeling of mediocrity. Actually, “mediocrity” is unfair, as this is an enjoyable flick. It simply never becomes anything more than that; it seems persistently middle of the road.

Which makes it tough to critique, as we find so little that’s clearly positive or negative. I saw the movie theatrically and forgot it almost instantly. I enjoyed it while it lasted and that was about it; nothing about it stayed with me.

For escapist action comedy, though, Smart provides reasonable entertainment. On the positive side, the flick boasts a terrific cast. Carell does a good job in the lead. He captures the spirit of the role but doesn’t simply imitate Don Adams. That’s a tough task, but Carell succeeds.

The supporting actors give the flick solid credibility as well. In addition to being incredibly hot, Hathaway shows fine comedic chops, and she exhibits nice chemistry with Carell. I really like Johnson as well. When he first moved from wrestling into acting, I expected the worst, but he’s proven me wrong. The former Rock offers such a great balance of action hero and comedian that I’m surprised he hasn’t become an even bigger star, though I think I actually prefer him in supporting roles. In addition to this flick, Johnson was terrific in the otherwise crummy Be Cool; maybe he should concentrate on this kind of smaller part.

In terms of negatives, the story becomes the main drag. I don’t know if the problem stems from an unnecessarily complicated plot or if director Peter Segal just can’t tell the tale well. Either way, Smart throws out a story that feels disjointed and fairly boring. The film occasionally wants to break out of its stupor and better engage us, but it rarely happens.

Really, Smart fares best when it concentrates on the comedic side of things. Segal shows little talent for action, and those scenes don’t live up to expectations. The flick works better as a comedy than as a spy/action effort.

All of which makes Get Smart inconsistent and only sporadically engaging. Largely thanks to its stellar cast, the movie boasts enough charm and humor to entertain. Unfortunately, it also drags on too many occasions, and its 110-minute running time feels a bit too long; some pruning would’ve made it move more briskly. This turns into a generally enjoyable flick but nothing more.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Get Smart appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Much of Smart looked very good, but some niggling problems nagged at me.

Sharpness usually satisfied. Though I noticed a smidgen of softness in a few wider shots, the majority of the flick came across as concise and accurate. Unfortunately, some artifacts marred the presentation. Edge enhancement remained minor, but elements could look a bit ropy; for instance, the Chief’s pinstripe suit showed some jagged edges. Mosquito noise was also a nuisance, especially in wide images; those showed a few distracting blotches. Other than light grain, no source concerns appeared.

Colors looked fine. For the most part, the film featured a natural palette; we found a blue tint here and a golden tone there, but the elements remained generally without stylization. The hues appeared solid through the film. Blacks were dark and dense, but shadows seemed more erratic. While some shots gave us good delineation, others could be a bit too thick. I thought the image had enough strengths for a “B-“, but expect some negatives.

Since Get Smart featured a lot of action, it managed to provide more ambitious audio than the standard comedy. However, it wasn’t a terrifically active affair. The front spectrum became the main focus of the mix, as the forward channels provided a nice sense of place. Music gave us good stereo presence, and the various effects moved well.

As for the surrounds, they added life at times, though not with the frequency found in a typical action movie. Again, the front channels maintained the main focus, though the back speakers brought out some useful material. The film’s larger explosive set pieces worked the best, and a few other fight scenes also gave us good information.

Audio quality was quite good. Speech came across as natural and crisp, with no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were accurate, and they showed good range and clarity as well. Music worked very nicely, as the score presented strong definition and liveliness. The whole package showed tight, rich bass. There wasn’t anything remarkable about the soundtrack, but it seemed more than acceptable.

Though Get Smart comes as a two-disc set, don’t expect a raft of valuable extras. On DVD One, the main attraction comes from Smart Takes, a collection of alternate scenes. “Smart Takes” starts with a 39-second introduction from Steve Carell, as he tells us about the interface: when an icon appears onscreen, hit “enter” to see the alternate footage. The DVD provides no simple way to watch them other than during the feature presentation. You can access them through the “Title” menu on your player; it’s awkward, but it’s the only way to see them other than during the movie.

That’s somewhat annoying, as I’d prefer to be able to watch the movie without interruption. This is especially true due to the extremely poor implementation of the feature. Most DVDs that use this method just slap a subtle icon in a corner of the screen; you can choose the alternate scene or just ignore it. No such luck during Smart, as the “Smart Takes” abruptly interrupt the movie. They take you to a totally different screen and make it impossible to enjoy the film. It’s a really annoying presentation, so I’d advise you to use the “Title” method if you want to see the “Takes”; viewing them as part of the flick will ruin the movie for you.

Is the material worth the effort? Occasionally, though the quality of the clips varies quite a bit. We find 41 of them, and the vast majority are very short. Of those 41 snippets, 34 of them last no more than 58 seconds. Just seven run longer than a minute, and only one goes past the one-minute, 44-second mark; a certain major star’s cameo occupies three minutes, which makes it by far the longest segment.

All together, the 41 clips fill a total of 25 minutes, 18 seconds of footage. Quite a few of these are funny, and the appearance by that aforementioned Major Star is very good; it’s great to see more of him. Actually, parts of that sequence and a few others qualify more as deleted scenes than alternate takes, so expect some truly new stuff here. I wish the interface was more accessible, but I still like the “Smart Takes”.

A few ads open DVD One. We get clips for Blu-Ray Disc, the A Christmas Story “Ultimate Collector’s Edition”, and Yes Man.

Most of DVD Two’s extras revolve around some featurettes. The Right Agent For the Right Job runs 10 minutes, 30 seconds and features producers Alex Gartner, Charles Roven and Michael Ewing, director/executive producer Peter Segal, and actors Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and Dwayne Johnson. “Agent” looks at cast and performances, the film’s tone, and some scene specifics. Expect a lot of joking in the various remarks, but we still learn a few decent tidbits. I also like the test footage of Carell and Hathaway. This is a fluffy little piece, but it’s worth a look.

Max in Moscow! goes for six minutes, 20 seconds. It presents notes from Segal, Carell, Hathaway, Roven, Gartner, Ewing, and producer Andrew Lazar. We follow the crew to Russia and observe parts of the shoot there. As with “Agent”, not a lot of substance materializes, but the show includes enough interesting tidbits to make it useful.

Next comes the three-minute, 30-second Language Lessons. This is essentially a comedic ad, as Carell touts the flick in a variety of languages. It’s cute and moderately amusing.

After this we get Spy Confidential: Gag Reel. It goes for five minutes, 39 seconds and presents the standard mix of goofs and giggles. While “Confidential” doesn’t do a lot to exceed expectations, the presence of Carell means more amusing improv bits than usual. That makes this a better than average blooper reel.

Finally, we get a Sneak Peek for Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloud: Out of Control. This three-minute and 13-second clip throws out a few remarks from Gartner, director Gil Junger, writers/executive producers Matt Ember and Tom J. Astle, and actors Nate Torrence, Masi Oka, and Jayma Mays. They do nothing more than tell us a little about the movie’s story and try to sell the DVD to us. It seems a little odd to get a “Sneak Peek” for a movie that came out months ago, but it’s there if you want to see it.

While the big-screen version of Get Smart seems unlikely to disappoint you, it also probably won’t thrill you either. The movie offers decent entertainment but has too many ups and downs to genuinely satisfy. The DVD provides generally good visuals marred by some artifacts. Audio works better, but other than some alternate takes, the mediocre extras don’t add much. Get Smart merits a rental.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5833 Stars Number of Votes: 12
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main