Get Smart

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Get Smart Movie Poster Image
Silly and fun, but edgier than the classic TV series.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 100 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 40 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 114 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Though it's pretty cartoony and silly, ultimately the movie has an underlying message about believing in yourself -- and trying to see the best in others. Agents make fun of one another, and one character betrays others. As part of their jobs, spies have to be somewhat deceitful, but for a good cause. Some jokes at the expense of the overweight.

Positive role models & representations

Max is very earnest and dedicated to his job, working hard to achieve his dreams. He also makes a point of calling out that the bad guys are bad because of what they do, not what they are, and tries to see the good in people. Agent 99 is a strong, resourceful female character -- albeit a bit bossy and, initially anyway, dismissive of Max. Most of the supporting characters are pretty broad good vs. evil types, though one aggressive henchman does show a glimmer of humanity.

Violence

A fair amount, though it's generally not very scary or serious. Lots of gunfire (minor characters are killed, some abruptly), as well as physical fights, near explosions, and perilous situations (including an extended car/plane chase). Agents and bad guys use lots of technologically advanced weaponry, as well as the old standbys -- handguns and nuclear bombs.

Sex

Some light sexual innuendo/double entendres; an older woman propositions Max after misunderstanding a question; Max and Agent 99 flirt and banter; Smart can't help but stare at 99's behind as she shimmies through a trap; some passionate dancing; discussions about agents sleeping with each other; some kissing. Max's bare butt is briefly exposed when his pants rip.

Language

Language includes "damn," "goddamn," "bitch," "whore," "frickin'," "s--t," and "a--hole." Most of the stronger words aren't used particularly often, but they're memorable when they come up.

Consumerism

One prolonged shot of a truck with its brand -- GMC Yukon -- clearly visible. Mentions of Joe Montana and Ferrari; Glide dental floss and a Swiss Army knife hide some serious spy gear.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Very minor social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Get Smart is a bit edgier than the classic TV show -- it's got some swearing (including "bitch" and a couple of "s--t"s) and a good bit of action -- but it's by no means for adults only. Kids are more likely to want to see this broad spy comedy because of stars Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson than because it's based on the series (though that might be a draw for some parents). The physical humor will definitely appeal to kids, though because of the frequent use of guns and other weapons by both the good and bad guys -- sometimes with relish -- the movie is most appropriate for older tweens and up. Expect a few cheap-shot jokes made at the expense of the overweight and some political barbs, though the latter will likely go over the head of younger viewers.

User Reviews

Adult Written bygarfield2711 March 20, 2009

A good movie with Sexual Innuendos.

This is a great movie but you need to be warned about the sexual content. There is a scene that resembles gay man sex but it's not really happening. Sexual...
Parent of a 6 and 7 year old Written byjmch April 9, 2008

Lots of action ... yet very funny!! (best for teens)

I loved this movie...BUT could have done without the language in it. I took my kids 11 & 6 to see it, some of the 'bad' words went right over...
Kid, 9 years old March 3, 2011
Steve Carrel is so funny! He is my favorite charactar, except for agent 99, who rocks. The movie is funny and awesome! WATCH I!!!!!!!!!!
Teen, 13 years old Written bypatton1942 April 6, 2011

very good for tweens

very funny movie a little sex talk but very entertaining

What's the story?

Forget the underlying plot in GET SMART, the modern-day cinematic adaptation of the classic TV series. What passes for one -- something about evil organization KAOS' attempts to bomb Los Angeles, with a preamble about weapons theft in Russia -- is rudimentary at best and confounding at worst. The movie is really the triumph-of-the-underdog story of Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell), a brilliant-but-nerdy analyst at secret government agency CONTROL who finally gets his wish to become a field agent when headquarters is attacked and the identity of all of CONTROL's operatives -- except for Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) -- is compromised. It's up to Max and 99 to stop the bad guys and save the day ... provided they can learn to work together.

Is it any good?

You could quibble about the movie's uneven plot, but don't let that get in the way of a good time. Carrell doesn't so much slip into original Get Smart star Don Adams' shoes (which do make a satisfying appearance) as put a cerebral sheen on them, playing Max (aka Agent 86) as delightfully eager to please and not entirely inept. Not really inept at all, in fact.

The rest of the cast also attacks the admittedly lightweight material with zest. Hathaway gives 99 a little sex appeal -- but she has the brawn to match, too -- and as superstar Agent 23, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson clearly has muscle power, but he's also surprisingly subtle and effective. But it's Alan Arkin, as the chief of CONTROL, who makes a particularly delicious impression, making what's essentially a one-dimensional character into a complicated curmudgeon who still proves he has the goods when the time comes. (Also keep your eyes peeled for plenty of inspired cameos.) With teamwork and some truly impressive gadgetry -- which really is half the point in a movie like this -- the cast manages to elevate the material. In the end, it feels like Get Smart only missed greatness by "this much."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why so many TV shows get made into movies. What do you think the appeal is for filmmakers? For studios? Does nostalgia translate into big audiences (and big profits)? Why do some succeed and others fail? Why do you think they remade Get Smart?

  • What shows would you like to see turned into movies? Why?

  • Why does Max want to be an agent so badly? What motivates him? What about his idea that our enemies are real people, too? Can you think of any other movie spies who have that perspective?

Movie details

For kids who love spies and comedy

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