I loved the TV series GET SMART and I still do. You could pick any episode from the first three seasons of GET SMART and it would be ten times funnier than Steve Carrell’s new movie version. The GET SMART movie is a listless, laughless remake that makes THE NUDE BOMB, the last GET SMART feature film, look like brilliant comedy. But while I was sitting there, fighting sleep and debating whether to walk out or not, it occurred to me that GET SMART has a lot of the same problems as Steve Martin’s THE PINK PANTHER remake. In both cases, someone made the inept decision to make the bumbling heroes smart and capable…and very good at what they do. Maxwell Smart and Inspector Clouseau were lovable, clueless, idiots who thought they were brilliant at what they did…and were far, far from it. That was what made them so funny. So why change the key aspect of their characters? The two Steves are extraordinarily funny guys — but have their egos become so big they are hesitant about playing morons? That wasn’t a problem for either one of them in the past (see THE JERK or ANCHORMAN). If they didn’t want to play Maxwell Smart and Inspector Clouseau as we know and love them…then why bother playing the parts at all? They even screwed up the “Would you believe” and “missed it by that much” jokes.
The only thing I liked about the GET SMART movie was the very, very, very in-joke of seeing Carrell use all three of the cars that Maxwell Smart drove in the series opening title sequence (cameos by Bernie Kopell and Leonard Stern seemed awkwardly shoe-horned into the movie). But that one moment was hardly worth the agony of watching the rest of the movie.