Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Getting Smart about TV based movies

The reviews are mixed so far for the new Get Smart movie(but much better than the ones for The Love Guru;bad sign when the NYT calls your flick"anti-funny"!)and if I was heading out to the theaters this weekend,Get Smart would be worth my while,I think.

Carell's low key everyman style of humor suits this material and it's not hard to picture him following in the footsteps of Don Adams,the originator of the character Maxwell Smart. I grew up watching the reruns of Get Smart and really enjoyed it(also find Anne Hathaway to be a great modern version of Agent 99)and this film adaptation seems to have the same good time groove that the show did,which is hard to replicate on film.

Take for example the Brady Bunch Movie(and it's follow-up,A Very Brady Sequel);the squeaky clean image and dated 1970s references that the series is composed of wouldn't even be tolerable by Disney Channel standards if played straight. Instead,the film makers were clever enough to use an Addams Family approach by keeping the Bradys as they were and having them face the modern world as clueless fish out of water.

They also allowed some of the unexplored darker elements of the characters to be spoofed on like Greg and Marcia's unspoken attraction to each other which wouldn't be totally wrong since they're not blood relations and Jan's middle child blues. My favorite parts of the first Brady movie are the Jan scenes,as her obsession to outshine Marcia grows into a frenzy:



Speaking of the Addams Family,in my opinion the sequel really outshone the first film. Joan Cusack sparkles as the gold digging Black Widow who fits more into the family fold than she realizes and the highlights of the film are Wednesday and Puggsley at summer camp. Especially Wednesday,Christina Ricci gives the ultimate Goth Girl performance of her life here.

From her vetting of various nannies to her fiery triumph over her enemies during a Thanksgiving Day pagent,Ricci lives up to the original macabre mocking tone set not only by the TV show but by the original Charles Addams cartoon itself:




While many of the television based film genre offerings have been reel horror shows,some of the better ones owned their success to being extensions of the origin show(which is not always a guarantee of quality or viewing worth)and animated shows with adult themes and humor such as The Simpsons and South Park are models for others to follow.

As much of a Beavis and Butthead fan that I am,I did have my doubts about the big screen version. It seemed to be way too late for such a movie to cash in on the following that the show had gathered but happily for me and many others,it totally ruled:


Best of luck to Get Smart and to the audiences who go to see it. Goodness knows,with all the high prices on just about everything these days,it would be a real treat to actually get your money's worth for some weekend entertainment. Even a roller coaster ride can deliver the goods and so should Hollywood:

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