Adapted from the popular 1960s television series of the same name, Peter Segal's take on 'Get Smart' follows super-agents in their quest to rid the world of a group of terrorists. Think gadgets, chases and intelligence (if you could call it that) and you're there.
Maxwell Smart (Carell) is a top analyst with CONTROL but, although brilliant at his job, he dreams of becoming a field agent. The only problem is that Max isn't the most athletic of guys, nor is he the most polished in his execution of tasks. He's the one who drops something loudly during a silent, secret mission. He's the one who shoots himself (or one of his team) instead of the actual target and he's likely to give the game away at any second by saying the wrong thing. But somehow Max makes the grade eventually, becoming Agent 86 and getting partnered up with the beautiful Agent 99 (Hathaway) for a top-secret mission against the dangerous terrorist troupe KAOS.
Initially Max struggles to survive in the world of deception that is the field, but gradually he learns how to play the game, using his charm and natural wit to win people over. But 99 is proving tougher than most to get on side. Having previously worked with athletic super-agents like 23 (Johnson), her standards are higher than what Max can offer and she's not afraid to make it known.
Steve Carell is well within his comfort zone here as the bumbling agent Maxwell Smart. He is charming, funny and has great chemistry with leading lady Anne Hathaway, who impresses as the super-slick Agent 99. She is comfortable and polished and turns in one of her most assured performances in recent years.
If you were a fan of the television series, you'll love that the movie has held onto all the best elements of the hit show, including that corridor of doors, the shoe phone and the telephone-box. But newcomers will equally enjoy this as a stand-alone, with younger audience members sure to appreciate the many pop culture references, including a mention for 'America's Sweetheart' Ryan Seacrest and Madonna and Justin Timberlake's latest hit '4 Minutes'.
As action sequences go, 'Get Smart' has a good mix of comical chases and punch-ups, pitting the muscles of the movie against the underdogs to witty effect. It maintains its pace throughout and showcases some top-notch acting, not just from the leads but also from their supporting cast, particularly veteran actors Alan Arkin and Terence Stamp and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (who plays the dim, cocky body-builder type well).
A decent homage to a great television series.