Wednesday 16 September 2009

39: Twelve Movies - Get Smart

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Originally posted: 13 March 2009

12 Days: 12 Movies
(2008, 110mins, Dir. Peter Segal)

Put Simply: Brick Tamland is the K-Mart Austin Powers.
Stars: Steve Carrell, Anne Hathaway, Dwane Johnson, Terence Stamp

It seems fair to say that this is the 10-years-on version of Austin Powers. That's not to do the movie a dis-service; but as I recall, the first AP movie wasn't earth-shatteringly brilliant. It was amusing, with several laugh-out-loud moments, and (thanks to the source material) was largely predictable. Hapless spy/agent - check. Stock-character evil genius - check. Hot brunette wearing pvc and back-flipping around - check. same rules apply. Could be improved in a sequel (ref: Austin Powers)

That's not to put this movie down, I did enjoy it, it's just instantly forgettable. It's not the finest moment for any of the stars listed above, but it's a vehicle that suits them all perfectly. Although The Rock's I'm-good-oh-I'm-bad role seems eerily reminiscent of Doom (sorry, did I mention... SPOILERS?), Stamp's role as a laconic arsehole is almost exactly the same as his one in Yes Man. By the way, I also enjoyed Doom immensely... what?

The price of entry here is low. There's a fleeting reference to the TV series with the museum-pieces at the start (re-referenced later, as are many of the plot-points), and they can't help but hackney in the codenames of the protagonists organisation (Control), and that of the antagonists (Kaos), which completely reveals the cold-war-timeframe origins of the original. Other than that, it's a simple action-comedy movie, and other than the unconvincing male/female-lead obligatory romance, it works damned well.

I'm sure there are other references that fans of the original TV series will feel pleased about, but frankly, by the time I was born in the seventies it seemed dated then, so I didn't watch it. My loss? Who knows. At 1hr50m, it seems long for what it is, but there are two stories wrapped up in the film. At about 70 minutes in, you'll be looking at your watch thinking 'is it over already?', but that's when it's gearing up for it's second-act/in-built-sequel.

The bottom line... watch this when you've got some mates around and had a couple of drinks. This is the cinematical equivalent of David Hasselhoff: It's largely harmless and it's meant to be laughed at, not taken seriously.

I reckon: 6/10

Tomorrow: Gran Torino.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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