Sorry about that, Chief

but I’m really not that sure about casting Anne Hathaway as Agent 99 in the new Get Smart movie. Steve Carell is a genius choice for Maxwell Smart, but can she match him as 99?

I quite liked her in The Devil Wears Prada, but the two parts are hardly equivalent. She’s far too much younger than Steve Carell to match him with experience, and that age dynamic is all wrong for the relationship. Cameron Diaz in a black wig would have been a far smarter choice, or probably half a dozen other experienced comedic actresses with really long legs but not quite so fresh a face. By the consensus of insider accounts though, more experienced comedic actresses may well have turned down the part because the writing is shite.

If the film’s script had been developed with the intent of truly honouring the clever parody that was the heart of the writing of the original series from Mel Brooks, Buck Henry, and Leonard Stern, then it might have had a chance. Unfortunately, although all three are still alive, none of them were asked to be part of developing the script, and apparently that really shows.

When are Hollywood producers finally going to twig that what made shows like Get Smart, Bewitched and The Avengers (just to mention two other TV sitcoms very poorly adapted for cinema) beloved, what made them award-winning cult comedies, what made them great wasn’t just a cheesy premise with some glamour and absurd plots and corny jokes? It wasn’t having a famous cast, either, because those shows made the actors famous, they weren’t famous enough to make people watch the show just for them. What made these shows great was sharp writing surrounding the cheesy premise and absurd plots and corny jokes, and Get Smart had by far the sharpest writing of the three, and without that sharp writing the movie simply won’t ring the right bells with the audience. If today’s producers don’t spend enough money on script development to get the sharp writing right then simply spending a big budget on a great cast and inserting flashy action scenes (spare me!) to get the adrenalin racing won’t make it work.

When it comes out on cable I probably will watch it though. I just have to see what Terence Stamp does with the part of Siegfried.



Categories: arts & entertainment

10 replies

  1. It annoys me when they mismatch couples like that, with the older guy and ravishing young lass. The only thing that I liked about the latest Indianna Jones flick was the fact that they didn’t do just that.
    Rayedishs last blog post..Enough ranting, let’s talk about Me(me).

  2. There was 9 years age difference between Feldon and Adams, he was 42 and she was 33 in 1965 when the show began. That worked – he was meant to be a senior officer to her, and he played younger than his actual age, while Feldon looked thirtysomething in the best possible way.
    Carell is 45 and Hathaway is 25. Even if Carell can manage to play the role as if he’s 35, Hathaway can’t. She’s a very young looking 25 too.

  3. P.S. Should mention that there’s 14 years between mr tog and me, but much as I love him I can’t imagine that I would have fancied him when we met if the age difference had been 20 years instead. 14 was pushing it.

  4. You are right about the writing tig. It sounds like that with ‘Get Smart’ someone had the bright idea to make an ironic remake of a show that was satirical to begin with.
    So many movies seem to have cookie cutter scripts these days. I suppose it is the rise of the script by committee rather than any creative force.
    Shauns last blog post..Jebus built my muxtape

  5. The only thing of substance I have to say is that Cameron Diaz, in or out of a black wig, is never the answer to anything. UGH!

  6. My spouse is 6 years older, but when we met in first year uni he was 25 but being 18 again so it was like we were the same age!
    But a twenty year age gap has a little bit of an ‘hmmm’ factor to me.

  7. Shaun, script by committee sounds about right.
    Matter of taste, ZQ. I reckon Diaz is a gifted comedienne who should do more screwball comedy and less of anything else. But she’s certainly not the only thirtysomething actress who would be a better fit for Agent 99 than the twentysomething Hathaway. And why not (I can hear the producers fainting already) a fortysomething? – Jane Leeves is the same age as Carell and would be marvellous.

  8. I never expect these kind of things to be as good as the original, so it’s less disappointing. 🙂 Just wanted to second the person above who said they enjoyed seeing a better age-matched romantic lead in the latest Indiana Jones: so did I!

  9. I liked steve in most of his other stuff. But I am sick of watching movies with huge age differences.

  10. I was a big fan of Get Smart as a young lass and loved the chemistry between Smart and 99 – she was the great ‘straight guy’ to his funny act and the show wouldn’t have worked without her world weariness. Unfortunately Hathaway, though a great actress is just too young to have any kind of weariness about her – she’s too fresh. Even if Carrell was 35 instead of 45 she’d STILL be too young to play the role.
    It was wrong of the producers to undermine the project in such a way as to go for the ‘hot young thing’ over substance that would actually work well in the role.

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