Sunday, June 22, 2008

Get Smart

Would you believe.... I liked it?

I was all set to hate it. Like many a proto-lesbian in the 1960's, I watched "Get Smart" in order to watch Barbara Feldon's Agent 99, she of the wry punchline and the legs that went on forever. She one-upped Diana Rigg's Mrs. Peel by being beautiful, mysterious, clever, wicked in a fight -- and funny.

Anne Hathaway is sweet, I thought, but could she stand up to the legend? She did, by wisely leaving the legend alone. She was not an imitation 99: instead of cleaning up after Smart with a wisecrack, she announced with the entitlement of a capable millenial woman that she wasn't going to be partnered with an incompetent rookie. (She was, anyway, which only goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.)

Steve Carell, alas, is no Maxwell Smart, but the fault lies mostly with the writing. The joke on TV was that the man named Smart was an idiot, working for a poorly controlled organization named CONTROL. This Smart is, indeed, super-smart, a nerdy guy who loses 100 lbs because his dream is to be a field agent. So we, the hapless viewers, never know whether Smart is going to be smart in this scene, or stupid -- we're not in on the joke. Bad move. The fun on the TV show was that we were in on the joke, that Smart was the joke. Oh, well.

Still, I laughed out loud more than once, and so did Catattack (whether she will admit it or not.) I was pleased to see a film use the magnificent Disney Music Hall as a setting, although they didn't exploit the interesting possibilities in the building. There are no right angles, many reflective surfaces, and it is utterly disorienting to walk or sit in the place. There is a chase scene yet to be made, somewhere in the fun house.

Thumb's up, mostly as summertime dumb fun.


Post a Comment

<< Home