©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:
Get Smart

Filthy says:
"Get Away."

Remember Razzles? It was the transgendered treat you never bought but sometimes got for Halloween. The one that didn't know whether it wanted to be candy or gum. Sort of like how Robert thought maybe he was really Tiffany. And like Robert/Tiffany, Razzles were shitty before and after the transformation. Nobody wanted to fuck Robert/Tiffany, and any teen experimentation that may or may not have occurred with a bag of Razzles was very disappointing.

Get Smart is the Razzles of movies: Is it a lousy comedy or a crap-ass action flick? It's both! It sucks and it stinks! Holy shit, what a nondescript, mealy mess.

Reruns of the original Get Smart TV series was a staple of any early 80s latchkey kid's summer vacation mornings. Somewhere right before Love American Style and after Bewitched. Created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, it was a slapticky spoof of spy movies and the Cold War starring Don Adams as clueless secret agent Maxwell Smart. Despite his incompetence, Adams always topped the bad guys from KAOS, sometimes with the help of Barbara Feldon. She was hot and competent. The show featured loads of dumb gadgets, like a shoe phone and cone of silence that made fun of the James Bond movies. If I remember correctly, the show was actually pretty decent. It never pretended to be an action show; it always went for gags. Of course, I was pretty busy humping fun-size candies in those days, so my memory may be fuzzy.

Get Smart the new movie starring Steve Carrell has almost nothing of substance in common with the old TV show, or its many weak-ass incarnations (like the super-lame 1995 remake TV series). That'd be fine with me, if they had bothered to replace it with something, anything, that weren't so fucking boiler-plate lame and tired. I mean, I find the whole idea of reviving old TV shows for movies about as offensive as a stranger rubbing his own bloody diarrhea in your eyes--without warning you, and without you having posted an ad to craigslist asking specifically for someone to do this to you. If you've done that, all bets are off.

What's even lamer than just aping old TV shows, though, is taking their names and appending them to piles of horseshit that they have little in common with. Hell, if you're not using the good shit from the original story, why not give the new movies brand new names, like This Movie Sucks Your Ass? Get Smart could be called that. Carrell's Maxwell Smart is no longer a smug boob. Instead, he's an oversensitive, highly-competent intelligence analyst who has always dreamed of being promoted to agent. You can imagine the hilarity that ensues. But, the director Peter Segal is too fucking dim to commit to Carrell being competent, so the flick opens with him trying to pass his agent test on the eighth attempt. Later, we learn he passed with an excellent score. So, why'd this highly-detailed, very-prepared person fail the first seven times? Because the movie is too fucking lazy to play it one way or the other.

The basic plot of the movie sucks the kernel off the corn. It's some bullshit about KAOS getting nuclear weapons and planning to blow them up unless they get a shitload of money. Why would an organization with the wherewithal to build high-tech weapons need money? The moviemakers never bother to explain that. Actually, the villain, played by a Malcom-McDowelly Terence Stamp, is never given any depth beyond that he isn't nice to underlings.

Segal and firends want to pretend they're making an action movie, they don't want to spend any time thinking it through, though. There's a double agent, of course. I won't tell you who it is, but just maybe, if you have the ability to read--or breathe--you can guess who it is. Is it the hot girl agent who tells Carrell he shouldn't trust anyone? Or is it the handsome, top-notch agent who nobody would ever suspect? Come on now, you've seen Scooby Doo before, so you can get this one. Hell, that's where the hack screenwriters Matt Embers and Tom J. Astle got it from.

What sucks is that such a tired-ass plot with such obvious twists might have worked as the premise for a satire. Get Smart isn't, though. It's played as straight as a church-sponsored key party. The makers think we're going to be surprised and delighted by their weak-ass shit. They think we're going to be excited by their aping the action sequences from the Christian Slater-John Travolta trash-truck wreck of a movie Broken Arrow. And then they think we're going to bust our humps laughing at cheap shots, such as how the president says "nucular". Oh, man, I hope these guys made zillions reusing Bruce Villanch's schtick.

Across the board, the jokes are more worn out than a vibrator in a convent. They're also thrown in haphazardly. It's like the makers sometimes suddenly remembered they were making a comedy and tried to add in some sort of punchline, no matter how weak or incongruous.

Carrell's Smart has some sorry-ass backstory about how he used to be fat, so he has lingering low self-esteem. I dated a really good-looking girl once who revealed to me that she used to be overweight, mainly because I hoped she had some lingering body images that I could exploit. She didn't. What I learned is that when a girl loses a lot of weight, she just might think I am a complete idiot. Anyway, Carrell is very sensitive, very smart and not particularly interesting. It's like someone had the dumb-ass idea of putting the 40-year-old Virgin in a spy movie.

In a half-assed way, Get Smart supposedly pays tribute to the old movie. Bernie Koppel makes a cameo that isn't funny. And Carrell hops in Don Adam's old Sunbeam convertible briefly. I'm not sure if the gestures were meant lovingly or just rote. They feel the latter.

Get Smart sucks. One Finger. I'm not gonna tell people to go rent the original series, though, because it's probably held up to time about as well as the roof the Tavern. So, skip the movie, skip the TV series, and go find something new that, even if it sucks, won't suck in a repeated way.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Gene Shalit of the Toda Show

Kung Fu Panda is "Kung Fun!"

Get Smart "had me beside myself laughing!"

Filthy's Reading
Edward Chupak - Silver

Listening to
Beck - Timebomb


The 400 Blows