Monday, June 16, 2008

Still Smarting After All These Years...

Like many of you, I have wondered if the new "Get Smart" is going to be any good. Ok, it was just me. Still, I do wonder.
I mean I want this to be good for a couple of reasons. One, I like Steve Carell, especially when he is a film that allows him to do good work while working on it's own. Like "Little Miss Sunshine", "Anchorman" and even "Dan In Real Life". He is a very good actor in addition to being a great comedic improv actor and he is one of those people I think picked up a lot of gigs after his initial success. It seems like after "The Forty-Year Old Virgin" (the only movie he has ever "opened" well) was this huge sleeper, he went "Wow, everyone is offering me big paydays and this may never happen again and I've got a wife and kids and let's just go for it". Which is a legitimate reason, being a parent myself, I get it.

But I hope this is a success for him as it will maybe get him back to writing his own scripts, which, since "...Virgin", hasn't happened.

And "B", I loved the show, so I would hope this movie would be an incredibly silly tribute to the original. Although the writers have only co-written "Failure To Launch" before this, and the director Peter Segal has only done one film that I thought was really good before and that was "Tommy Boy", a movie the missus and I bonded over when we first met1. Not the best recipe for success, I'll grant you.

Which brings us to the original "Get Smart" one of the silliest television comedies ever. What was, initially, a parody of the spy show created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, became this bizarre showcase for Don Adams' talent for mimicry, with a spy show parody frame. It's a one-of-a-kind entertainment that does not bode well for the movie. Even Adams himself could never revive the success of the show in subsequent features ("The Nude Bomb"), reunion tv movies ("Get Smart Again"), and television revivals (the 1995 "Get Smart" with Andy Dick as 99 and Smart's son... that's right I said Andy Dick!).

"None of the sequels worked... none of the shows... they were all terrible", I remember Adams grousing during an E True Hollywood Story on the show.

Adams was not known as the most pleasant of people to begin with and I had a fiend who was working as a transcriber on the E show, and she told me how depressing it was listening to Adams. Apparently, he was not in a good mood during a lot of the shoot.

Adams has since passed away, Ed "Chief" Platt before him. Barbara "99" Feldon is still alive as is
Bernie "Seigfried, head of KAOS" Kopell (although I think only Kopell is in the new movie in a cameo).

The first season is out on dvd this August. The complete run was available through Time Life for a year or two, for a gazillion dollars.

So, at least the movie brought the show back, restored, on dvd.

1.Hey it's funny and made me cry, man, so lay off, okay?


schinders said...

lucky for us out here on the sinister coast, kdoc shows the original every weeknight at 9pm, 2 episodes back to back. great stupid jokes. max gets himself arrested to get a tooth out of a felon's mouth, 99 visits him in prison. 99 says, tearfully, "oh max, you don't know what it does to me to see you in that uniform." max replies, "why? doesn't it fit me well?"

your fiend, mr. jones said...

One of my favorites is when Max is talking to a scientist at Control who is showing the latest in high tech surveillance spy gear. And it goes a little something like this... Maestro?

Scientist- Now this is a camera which has been disguised to look like a tape recorder... and this Max, is a tape recorder designed to look like a camera!

Smart- Well, why don't you just make a camera that's a camera and a tape recorder that's a tape recorder?

Scientist (with a malevolent glint in his eye)- Because my mind doesn't work that way...

And the scientist was played by Stacy and James Keach's father, also named Stacy Keach!