"Get Smart" could've been like 99% of TV to movie trainwrecks, but thanks to the comic timing of Steve Carell and great directing, it miraculously manages to please old fans and even makes a few new ones.
Maxwell Smart is a wannabe secret agent for the spy agency CONTROL. He's an analytical genius who translates conversations of enemy spies all over the world. But like the Hollywood director who really wants to write, Max desires to be an agent out in the field like his idol Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson). Although he drops 150 pounds and finally passes his exam (after the 8th time), he's deemed to be too valuable as an analyst by the Chief (Alan Arkin).
When CONTROL's agents and headquarters are compromised, it's up to Max and Agent 99 to infiltrate the stronghold of their terrorist organization KAOS and stop them from nuclear blackmail. He's given cool gadgets (that he manages to misuse and nearly impales himself) by CONTROL geeks Nate Torrence and Masi Oka (Hiro on Heroes). When they're not helping Max, they're being bullied by Agent 91 & Larabee. Bill Murray also makes a funny, tree-filled cameo as Agent 13.
After seeing the trailers of the movie, I thought it would be horrible, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Steve Carell was smart enough to pay homage to the Don Adams without doing an impersonation. While both versions are unflappable and clueless at times, Carell's Max has his own charm and innocence that makes you want to root for him all the same.
Anne Hathaway as 99 adds a new dimension to the character as a veteran spy forced to team up with the new Max. She resents him at first, but falls for his confidence and charm. Hathaway comes across as hard at first, but shows a tender moment and eerily channels Barbara Feldon when she says "Oh, Max."
Dwayne Johnson (sans "Rock") really gets to shine as a rock star secret agent with a secret to hide. He really comes into his own taking a chance by flexing his comedic muscles and manages a very awkward kiss with a main star (I won't spoil it).
Bad guy Siegfried (Terence Stamp) lacks the campiness of his 60's counterpart, but brings a scarier bad guy into 2008. His assistant Sharker (Ken Davitian) more than makes up for it as his lackey Shtarker, who would throw his boss under the bus (literally) if it got him a promotion.
Director Peter Segal (The Longest Yard, 50 First Dates) is no stranger to great comedic actors, having directed Adam Sandler in "The Longest Yard" and it shows here as he keeps Carell on track and letting him create his own Max even while using familiar catch phrases such as "Missed it by that much". The special effects are great especially Hathaway's fight scenes and the use of Max's gadgets new and old, such as the shoe phone made famous in the TV show. Segal even manages to squeeze in a Bernie Kopell (The original Seigfried) cameo into the movie (points off for not putting Barbara Feldon in).
Staying true to the original while making us fall in love with an all-new Max and 99 is something everyone concerned deserves kudos for. Somehow you know Don Adams and William Platt are checking out the new version "and loving it."
Billy Tatum gives "Get Smart" 4 and a half Scoops.