Get Smart (2008)

Peter Segal has made films that people love — Tommy Boy50 First DatesThe Nutty Professor II: The Klumps — and critics hate. Here, he’s remaking the Mel Brooks and Buck Henry show that ran from 1965 to 1970. Instead of Don Adams, Steve Carrell takes over as Maxwell Smart.

Smart is more geek than spy, in awe of agents like 23 (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and 99 (Anne Hathaway). Once KAOS (none of the spy agencies are acronyms here) exposes the identities of every CONTROL agent, he gets his chance to be a spy, going to battle with Siegfried (Terence Stamp!), one of the baddies from the 60’s show. It’s also great to see Alan Arkin as the Chief.

There are some fun cameos here, like Bill Murray as Agent 13, who must always be a tree); James Caan as the President; Terry Crews and David Koechner as CONTROL agents; Larry Miller and Kevin Nealon as CIA guys; former WWE wrestler The Great Khali as a henchman and Patrick Warburton as the robotic Hymie.

A sequel has been rumored for some time. There was a direct-to-video spin-off, Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd: Out of Control (featuring the tech geeks, Warburton, Crews and a cameo by Hathaway). It only lasted seven episodes. It was based on the reunion movie, Get Smart, Again!

I totally forgot that there was a 1995 Fox series with Don Adams and Barbara Feldon returning to their roles to help their son, Andy Dick, become a CONTROL agent.

I did not forget 1980’s The Nude Bomb, a film that brought Maxwell Smart back in again to battle a bomb that takes off clothes. Smart doesn’t even work for CONTROL in this one, but for the PITS. Agent 99 isn’t in it and Feldon wasn’t even informed that the movie was being made. You know who is? Sylvia Kristel, which probably explains why an 8-year-old me was so excited by this film. Actually, I have no idea if pre-puberty me would know how magical she was, but I’d like to think I knew what was up. It’s directed by Clive Donner, who was behind the TV movie Spectre and 1981’s Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen, a movie that would never be made today because Peter Ustinov was Chan and Angie Dickinson was the Dragon Queen. Whitewashing has been real for years, people.

You can watch this film for free on Vudu.

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