Friday, June 20, 2008

Would you believe . . . .

It's really not that bad?

Yeah, I went this afternoon to see the new Get Smart movie. Normally, I'm a little dubious with these revamped-tv remakes or whatever you want to call them. For every one that's as smart and entertaining as, say, The Fugitive or The Brady Bunch Movie, there's awful junk like The Beverly Hillbillies. I went, however, for a couple reasons -- 1. I loved the original series so I was curious, 2. I love Steve Carrell, 3. The friend with whom I was going to see a movie really wanted to see this one and I knew it would be fun for the two of us to see it together, and 4. Whatever small contribution I can make to insuring that The Love Guru fails is worth it.

Is Get Smart a great film? Heavens, no. But it's a fun movie. It was a good way to spend a hot afternoon in a cool, air conditioned theatre, nursing the sunburn I unwittingly got today when my "I'm just going to mow this last little strip that I didn't get done last night" turned into a "And while I'm at it, I'll just trim these bushes here."

Steve Carrell is his usual enjoyable self. Yes, there were a couple times when I thought, "That's such a Michael Scott moment!" but when you think about it, isn't Michael Scott really a direct descendant of Maxwell Smart? Seriously, think about it. Bumbling but well-meaning guy who thinks he's the shizz? They even have the same initials! Anne Hathaway was charming even if she didn't quite have the same combination of spunk and sensuality that Barbara Feldon had. The supporting cast was fun and full of surprises -- Bill Murray in a funny cameo, David Koechner proving he's great comedic support, Patrick Warburton in a great cameo that really couldn't have been played by anyone else, that little Asian dude from Heroes who pretty much stole the movie for me. Everytime he came on, I seriously squealed with happiness because his stuff was always so funny -- and I don't even watch Heroes! And, um, The Rock, er, I'm sorry Dwayne Johnson (how can I take a movie star named Dwayne seriously? Dude, just call yourself Rock Johnson or something!) is really, really, really attractive (and I normally don't say that about guys like that. You know, conventionally attractive men. I like nerds.)

Yes, the movie had its flaws. It is a bit on the long side, but what movie isn't nowadays? Seriously, when was the last time you saw a new movie that clocked in under 2 hours? What happened to the days of the 90-minute movie? The plot isn't particularly engaging and I saw the "twist shocker" coming a mile away. There are laughs that fall flat and jokes that feel forced. But what works in this movie is strong cast and a fun spirit that rises above these flaws. This is not groundbreaking, Oscar-oriented cinema. It's a summer popcorn flick intended to give people 2 hours of fun -- and that's what it does. Take it for what it is and have fun.

And when you see it, I hope you laugh as hard as I did at Alan Arkin's reaction to the swordfish. If you see it, you'll understand what I mean. I couldn't stop laughing for several minutes after it happened . . . and then I would think about it again and start laughing again.

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