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getsmartICphoto.jpgThe newest incarnation of “Get Smart” contains two hours of the most intriguing plot twists and inspiring character development of any movie this year. Alright, would you believe an hour of inspiration wrapped by a surprise ending? How about two peppermint twists and a U-turn?
As inspiring movies go, “Get Smart” requires neither that we get anything nor that we’re smart, but it’s a decently entertaining ride and casts some added light on why the original show was such a success.
Steve Carell plays Don Adams’ original character with a modern flair that is probably appropriate for our times: he’s a bit drier than Adams and more of an actual action hero, and he’s not nearly the bumbler that Adams was. Nevertheless, he portrays that sense of everyman-ness which strikes a chord in all of us who know we’re human but would love to be superheroes.


Ann Hathaway’s “99” is more condescending and less sympathetic than Barbara Feldon’s original, but she softens as the show moves along, mirroring that sense of acceptance that we all wish those we work with would extend our way.
The rest of cast borders on all-star, though some seem a better fit than others. Alan Arkin is everything you’d expect The Chief to be. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is admirable for taking a role in which he’s not the star. Terence Stamp is under utilized as Siegfried (the head of KAOS). James Caan and Bill Murray are basic cameos. And the location scenes (Russia, Washington, Chechnya) are really a neat surprise.
In the end, though, this is a remake that tries to do more than its original. It’s a pleasant attempt that hints at inspiration. But in the end, as you may have guessed, it missed it by that much. If I had it to over again, it’d be a rental.

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