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It's nowhere near as bad as you think!
January 28th, 2008 [1:24:18]

Voicedude: I was in the audience for the very first screening of this movie, so I can speak from personal experience here. I WAS a big fan of the original TV show and agree with WP's assessment to leave well enough alone. While only Mission Impossible and a very few others are the ONLY TV-to-movie successes, let's face it: most of them absolutely suck! (hint: there's usually a good REASON these TV shows weren't movies to begin with!)

I also agree with WP's hesitation for casting Anne Hathaway as 99. The age difference is explained, but it doesn't wash. However, she does a decent job and only when they kiss do you raise any eyebrows.

But let's face it: Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart is inspired casting! He's finally found a lead role that he is perfectly suited for. He's played morons before, and his deadpan is exactly what is required. They DID adjust the character for modern times, but by making him a nerd instead of an complete idiot they've avoided my biggest fear: turning Get Smart into Dumb & Dumber with a gun (which would've have been REALLY terrible!) With his lack of skills and shy personality, Max still had plenty of opportunities to bumble and stumble his way into success. My biggest complaint is perhaps that they didn't do this enough.

Along with that, there is also a very sweet nature to this movie, making it a perfect family film! (and by that I mean something that is suitable for all ages, but not so cloying or dumbed down for teens and adults. Plus, no 'subtle vulgarity' thrown in like Shrek et al. How refreshing!) There's a scene at a formal ball that COULD have taken a mean-spirited turn, but instead went for the high road. It's a good moral lesson for the kiddies, and yet was actually funnier BECAUSE of the choices they made.

Most action comedies (since 48 Hours) usually fail at either the action or the comedy (or both), but in this one the finale ends up being OK - not great, but not supremely disappointing either. And by the way, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is very funny in this one.

I'd like to see the filmmakers fine tune this one for a sequel, amping up the satire a bit going for a lot more of Max's accidental successes. If they did, they might find a successful series of films that doesn't wear itself out as quickly as the Rush Hour series did.

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