July 19th, 2008

Rose-coloured Reviews *Get Smart*

I do not necessarily think that hard about my cinematic choices, and so far that has worked out pretty well. The *entire* reason I wanted to see Get Smart is that Fred mentioned that, at some point in the action, someone drives a car through the doors of the Arts Building at McGill, where we both studied. I am fond of McGill and have entirely happy memories of the Arts Building, but I still thought it would be cool to see someone drive a car through the doors. The fact that popcorn and hilarity might be involved just made the possibility even sweeter!

My companion had actually seen the original TV show and gave me an astute precis of what we might see (shoe phones, physical comedy, Cold War references). As soon as we got into Steve Carell‘s goofball seriousness, though, I felt right at home. This is the sort of action-satire that started with Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther–oh, what do I know about film history, it probably started long before that! But it went right up into my childhood: Leslie Neilson in The Naked Gun, Val Kilmer in Top Secret!, Inspector Gadget in Inspector Gadget: an officious, oblivious, dead-serious bumbler, adrift in a high-tech, high-stakes world he thinks he can defeat, but most certainly can’t. His (these characters are never women, it occurs to me) ineptitude is never revealed to him, because circumstances, dumb luck and quick-thinking friends (oh, Penny and Brain!) always bail him out in the nick.

Carell’s Agent 86 is a little more self-aware than the others I mentioned–he feels some of the sting of failure when he fails, and considerable embarrassment when he notices Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) bailing him out yet again. Carell’s self-awareness and vulnerable ego gives some nice laughs, but he loses others on the physical stuff. I think this guy is not a physical comedian. I haven’t seen a lot of his work, but I understand it to based more on the awkward moment rather than the hilarious pratfall, and *Get Smart* definitely dwelt more on the latter. Yeah, Carell fell down a lot, it just wasn’t all that memorable (I *love* people falling down…in movies, where no one gets hurt)

Anne Hathaway–also not known for her slapstick work! And looking really weird. Her character, Agent 99, is supposed to have had extensive facial reconstructive surgery, but I don’t know why the make-up artists tried to make her look like that. She’s awfully attractive, I’ve seen non-99 pictures (ok, full disclosure, it was The Princess Diaries) and I am sure her face is normally same colour as her neck. I don’t know why it wasn’t here.

Why am I complaining? I liked this movie. The more reviews I write, the more I realized it’s way easier to be grim than Rose-coloured. Hathaway is a fine straight woman for Carell’s awkward deadpan hilarity, and if neither of them can fall down with particular aplomb, The Rock and Alan Arkin sure can. Alan Arkin gets hit in the head with a fire-extinguisher and never lets anyone forget it. Hahaha. No, it’s funny really. And I always forget how much I like the Rock (do you capitalize the “the”, do you think? Is it part of his proper name?) Between movies, it seems like he’s some tall obnoxious wrestler, but he’s actually really goofy and fun–didja see a little gem called The Rundown? No, no you didn’t, nobody did who isn’t a big Seann William Scott fan did, and so that would basically just be me. Nevermind, it was really good. Hey, what was my point?

*Get Smart* is a good movie for not thinking very hard about. I was enjoying myself so much that I actually forgot about the McGill connection, and when the little red car busts through the doors (it comes outta nowhere, there are no previous exteriors at McGill) I bounced in my seat with joy! It was awesome!! Carell drives right past the Three Bares statue off campus to rue Sherbrooke. OMG, so cool.

If you dig that sort of thing, along with the occasional George W. joke and some high-paced action with a train that I didn’t fully understand, you should really go see this movie. I’m also told that it riffs pretty well on the TV show, so that’s good. Really, delightful fluff.

I’ve got this sentimental heart that beats

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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