Get Smart (WB, 2008) D: Peter Segal, w/ Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN
Get Smart: The Complete Series (HBO Video, 1965-70) Creators: Mel Brooks, Buck Henry, w/ Don Adams, Barbara Feldon. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNNN
The Get Smart movie dvd has the second-worst special feature I've ever seen. The mechanism for getting in and out of the theatrical Get Smart's "alternate scenes" version is clumsier than Canada Post. It kills the timing, and that kills the comedy. The alternates themselves are simply different gag lines in the same situation. No better, no worse.
The making-of docs are better, with some funny moments on casting and shooting in Moscow.
The movie itself has plenty of chuckles and a few laugh-out-loud moments as secret agents Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) and Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) once again battle the forces of Kaos, which is hell-bent on world domination via nuclear blackmail.
Carell and Hathaway have chemistry and more than enough energy to carry the movie over the occasional clumsy moments.
Carell is funny, but he isn't really Maxwell Smart. The series original (Don Adams) was a perfect cartoon idiot, powered by the irresistible force of misplaced self-confidence, sustained by immovable stupidity leavened with a touch of the cowardly weasel.
Carell's Max is merely a fish-out-of water burdened with sympathetic yearnings. We're supposed to get the warm fuzzies? Worse, the writers have made him a brilliant analyst. That's like writing a stupid Sherlock Holmes.
The series writers, beginning with Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, were funnier. They'd mix complicated wordplay with slapstick, parody and satire, keep the pace quick and tell a more or less coherent story in a mere 26 minutes. The show is still very funny.
Along with 138 episodes, including the seldom-seen black-and-white pilot, the box includes over eight hours of extras that offer an extended look into the minds of Brooks, Henry, Barbara Feldon (the original Agent 99) and several other key players.
EXTRAS (theatrical): Disc one: theatrical or alternate scenes version. Widescreen. English, French, Spanish audio and subtitles. Disc two: two making-of docs, gag reel, Carell comedy routine, digital copy. Widescreen. English, French subtitles.
EXTRAS (series): selected episode commentaries by Brooks, Henry, Feldon and others; interviews; Get Smart reunion panels featuring Don Adams. Full-frame.