The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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'Get Smart' gets dumber

June 10, 2008 |  3:32 pm

Variety's John Anderson saw an early screening of "Get Smart" on May 29 at Grauman's Chinese, but he's only posted his review today--which at least saved Warner Bros. 10 days of tsoris, since, as is often the case, critics are rarely kind when it comes to big studio comedies. I think we could safely summarize Anderson's review by saying that it's a steep drop in class from Mel Brooks and Buck Henry (creators of the beloved original TV series) to Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, the veteran TV writers who penned the remake, which hits theaters June 20.

I'm going to see the movie myself later this week, so I reserve the right to disagree. But for now, here's Anderson with the leading edge of critical opinion:

   "Helmer Peter Segal's formulaic takeoff is neither fish nor fowl, not quite faithful to the show, but not quite bringing it into the 21st century either.... There's a lot of nodding and winking toward the old show, including Max's  musical march through the multiple security gates that also introduced the Brooks/Henry-created series. This is a good thing, because otherwise we might forget that we're watching 'Get Smart' at all.... Why redo 'Get Smart' if you are going to discard the elements that defined your inspiration?"