This Get Smart update is full of gizmos meant to remind you of the original TV show—the shoe phone, the ineffectual "cone of silence," that iconic series of doors that leads to CONTROL's spy agency headquarters—but it never attempts to mimic the show's deadpan tone. Which was probably inevitable. A movie no longer qualifies as a spy spoof when half of the punch lines consist of Steve Carell causing himself injury. Seriously, comedy writers, what's wrong with an old-fashioned pratfall? Must every mishap cause severe trauma to Carell's gonads and soft tissue?
Steve Carell plays Maxwell Smart, the incompetent spy—only now, confusingly, he's hypercompetent, a brilliant analyst who shed mountains of pounds to pass his field agent exam. Anne Hathaway is fine as Max's partner, Agent 99, though it would've been nice if someone had attempted to disguise the frequent use of a hyperflexible stunt double. When they're sniping at each other, Carell and Hathaway have decent chemistry, but when their relationship downshifts into sentiment, it loses all credibility. There's something about doe-eyed Anne Hathaway getting misty that always makes me want to retch.
Luckily, Get Smart moves quickly, and the insanely hyperbolic action sequences are enough to distract you from most of the movie's flaws. Except for the lazy jokes about the character flaws of George W. Bush. A lame duck in politics is a sitting duck for satire: If you held your fire until now, you don't deserve the laughs.