Outside The Ring
The Rock, Great Khali, and Get Smart
This film, like The Longest Yard before it, featured more than one man who became famous by way of Professional Wrestling. As the subtitle indicates, both the Punjabi playboy and the People’s Champion were in this. Neither were the stars, though. That title belonged to the man once known as Michael Scott, and what a performance he gave. Steve Carell is absolutely hilarious in this, with an entire classic series to work off of.
For those of you who don’t know, Get Smart was a very popular satirical television series that ran from September 18th, 1965 until September 11th, 1970. It was created by legendary comedy writers Buck Henry and Mel Brooks and lampooned the emerging genre of the Secret Agent film. This is back when James Bond was only beginning his life. By 1965, only Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger had been released; each one year apart. Thunderball hit theaters the same year that Get Smart was released. The genre was still fresh, so the satire was cutting edge. It was anchored by Don Adams in the role of Agent 86, Maxwell Smart; taken over by Carell in this remake.
With the rise of men like Jason Bourne, the 2008 Get Smart remake was well-timed. Peter Segal was in charge this time, the same man who directed the previously mentioned Adam Sandler vehicle. He assembled a stellar cast along with the Rock, Khali, and Carell, including seasoned actors Patrick Warburton, James Caan, Nate Torrence, Masi Oka, Terrence Stamp, Terry Crews, David Koechner, and Alan Arkin, who plays the head of CONTROL, the top secret government agency they all work at. Segal also got Anne Hathaway, which I would like to thank him for. She plays Agent 99. Anyone who puts Anne Hathaway on a screen is okay by me. So beautiful, and so talented. The talent makes her infinitely more attractive in my eyes.
Anyway, moving on from my crush. Back to why we’re here: two giant, muscular dudes. Yeah! This is manly s–t!
So how funny was it when Steve Carell kissed the Rock? Spoiler alert: early in the film, while trying to escape the Great Khali, Anne Hathaway lays a big kiss on him. It works as intended, causing the monster of a man to become distracted long enough for Agent 99 to slip away. Later in the film, after [SPOILER ALERT] the Rock is revealed as a double agent, he takes Agent 99 by gunpoint and tries to escape. Smart and Agent 99 hooked up earlier in the movie and were totally into each other. So, of course, Maxwell chases after him. They end up in a rail yard, inside an SUV that’s on fire and driving by cruise control. They make their way to the top of the vehicle, and as things look truly dire, Carell’s character recalls Agent 99’s method for taking care of Khali’s character.
He lays a big kiss on the Rock’s character, obviously throwing him for a loop long enough that Maxwell Smart could get the upper hand and dispatch of his former best friend.
“Unusual,” declares Alan Arkin’s character,” but effective.”
I know I’m a little all over the place with this, but I re-watched Get Smart earlier tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed from beginning to end. The Rock and Great Khali have a few of the film’s funniest moments. The Rock’s character walks face first into a wall, seconds after he’s introduced. He plays Agent 23; the only friend that Maxwell Smart has at CONTROL. Their dynamic is really well played before the twist. Dwayne Johnson, as he was credited here, worked very well with Steve Carell in their few scenes together as buddies. There’s also a scene involving the Rock, David Koechner, and a stapler that I wont spoil.
The Great Khali plays a henchman. He’s a bad guy from the beginning. He works for Siegfried, the head of the villainous organization KAOS, adversaries to CONTROL. His climactic moment comes towards the end of the second act during a confrontation with Agent’s 86 and 99. While they’re fighting, Smart recognizes Khali’s character as a familiar caller into Ryan Seacrest’s Top 40 Radio Show, of which Maxwell is an avid listener.
You see, Dalip, Khali’s cleverly named character, calls in to talk to Ryan about his awful home life with his wife and her bitchy sister. Nobody else will ever listen to him. He’s a big tough guy. He’s not allowed to have feelings. Maxwell Smart appeals to that untapped element of Dalip’s psyche and quickly befriends the man. By that, I mean the monster crumbles and starts crying hysterically into Steve Carell’s shoulder.
“Her sister’s such a bitch,” he sobs out in one of the funniest moments of the film.
Every part of me wants to close this article out with that last line, but I have to wrap it up. Everyone involved in this film did a great job. I loved every second of it. If you like the Secret Agent films based around men like James Bond, or Jason Bourne, and you have a sense of humor; then you need to do yourself a favor and Get Smart.