The shoe phone makes up for anything, though.

There are three ways that the movie Get Smart pleased me by improving as it went along. The first has to do with the action. Before I go on, I must give a bit of an explanation. I have this movie pet peeve, and it frequently becomes an issue during elaborate action sequences. I hate it when some objects are shown falling considerably faster than others even though they are about the same shape and density. It is so distracting and silly, and pops up more often than one would think—especially in those oh-so-apparently-irresistible skydiving sequences. One such sequence in the first half of Get Smart features 99 falling after parachuteless Max at probably a full minute delay, and catching up with him. It passed any chance it had at being just fun-silliness to dear-god-when-will-it-end-stupidity, and was so ludicrous that I prepared myself to hate the rest of the movie. Luckily, laws of physics were basically honored from then on. That’s really all I ask for from an action sequence. That, and characters not doing things that have obviously grievously injured/killed innocent bystanders and continuing on as if nothing happened. If you’re good on those two things, fly all the two-seater planes through downtown Los Angeles that you want. I’m on board.

The second way I was pleased was with the interaction of Max and 99. I watched Get Smart the television show in reruns all the time as a kid, and once bought my sister a keychain that looked like a TV with a picture of Max on it and played the theme song. As a true fan, I got on board with Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway the first time I heard the cast list, but only individually—I wondered if they would play well together. They did capture their characters beautifully. Yes, 99 is a bit young—but I loved the explanation given for that in the film, and the way Hathaway approached her character’s attitude to the situation. Steve Carrell invokes the memory of Don Adams without sounding like he’s doing an imitation (except maybe a bit, on the requisite line “Missed it by that much”…but you gotta give him that one). And when they really get rolling together, things only work better with every sequence. The actors have great comic chemistry with each other, and even managed to eke out enough romantic chemistry that the love story didn’t come out feeling nearly as forced as I thought it would when it got rolling. Well done, kids.

Finally, the movie pleased me with better humor as it went along. The first half features entirely too many lines from a couple of basic office idiot-jerks (yes, that’s the official term) who give Max a hard time for his bumbling efforts to move from being an analyst to an agent. Lord, these two are the opposite of funny. But then their presence dwindled, and The Rock hilariously attacked one of them with a common office tool, and all was right with the world. Ah, The Rock. I love that man! He and Alan Arkin as the Chief play such solid characters with quality dialogue, and they do it so well. They have all kinds of great things to do and never feel like dead weight when they join up with Max and 99 on their big mission. And again, they truly come alive in the second half of the movie.

Seriously people, I don’t know what unsung screenwriter the producers brought in to punch up the second half of the script, but I’d bet money that they did so. Movies are shot out of sequence, so it’s not the actors getting used to each other or the director figuring out what he’s doing that makes Get Smart start out uneven and steadily inch toward awesomeness…it’s that script. So thanks, mystery screenwriter. You made this movie one I hope they make a sequel for.


2 Responses to “The shoe phone makes up for anything, though.”

  1. 1 Chelsea July 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I thought the movie was enjoyable enough. I wasn’t disappointed with anything since I didn’t really have any expectations going in. I just figured it would be cheesy like the show was (and I mean that in a good way). I didn’t really get the whole plastic surgery storyline though. If they were worried that Anne Hathaway was too young for Steve Carrell, why didn’t they just cast an older actress? I guess that might take away some of the body suit scenes…

  2. 2 Chelsea July 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Why does my monster look so stressed out?? He needs to chill.

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