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DVD Review

DVD cover

Get Smart (2008)


Starring: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson and Alan Arkin
Warner Home Video
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 23 February 2009

Maxwell Smart is an ever-eager research analyst at the headquarters of Control, a government security agency believed to have long been disbanded but remaining covertly active. Super intelligent but incredibly clumsy, Smart has always dreamt of one day leaving his desk bound job and working in the field. However, having passed all the necessary field exams he still fails to make the cut and under the orders of his Chief, Max’s ambitions look a distant dream. However, when Control is unexpectedly attacked, the identities of its secret agents are compromised and soon active field agents are being assassinated. Left with a depleted security force and few options the Chief has no choice but to designate Smart Agent 86...

Anyone who fondly remembers Mel Brooks's '60s Get Smart TV series might like to give this movie a miss.

The biggest problem, for me anyway, was that Steve Carell, who plays Maxwell Smart, is not a very likeable person here. In fact, I've got to admit that he annoyed the hell out of me for the film's duration. He's got one of those faces that just makes you want to reach into the screen and give the man a slap.

Add to this the fact that the plot is paper thin (and been done a million times before) and the jokes are universally awful, and you have yourself a bit of a mess.

While most of the supporting cast can't be faulted (Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson and Alan Arkin all turn in admirable performances considering what they have to work with) Terence Stamp appears to be using this as an audition piece to apply for the part of a pantomime villain.

The DVD review copy we received was incredibly poor. Firstly, no matter what language we chose on the main menu, the other menu's were in another language - making it impossible to discover what the features were (thankfully they were mentioned on the press release) and several times during the movie the action froze or skipped on. Hopefully these problems have been fixed before the DVD was released to buy.

Extras include Smart Takes (alternate scenes you can view in situ within the film, apparently. The version we had just had 49 minutes of material which included the opening sequence and end credit titles); Spy Confidential (5 min, 38 sec gag reel); and Language Lessons (3 min, 30 sec in which Carell pretends that he can speak several different languages - with hilarious results, or not as the case may be).

Those that fondly remember the TV series will hate this - as will anyone who is expecting a half decent movie. In fact, I'm only giving this a 4 because you get to see, very briefly, Hathaway in her undies.


Nick Smithson

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