When a DVD promises to be even funnier than the movie release, that's one thing. You know for the most part that it's a marketing ploy. But when a DVD promises to deliver 62 percent more laughs than previously experienced, not only do you know it's a marketing ploy, but it becomes a marketing ploy that the disc damn well better live up to. In the case of Get Smart -- now available from Warner Home Video in single-disc and two-disc DVD editions as well as Blu-ray -- I would say 62 percent might be pushing it, but it's definitely close.
First of all, I simply adored this film when it was released this summer. It captured the spirit of the original while properly incorporating it into the show's history. But it very much became its own thing, just as funny if not funnier than the original. Held together by a rock-solid comedy cast including Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Alan Arkin and Dwayne Johnson, this thing is funny from back to front. So how in the name of Zeus could they possibly make it funnier?
Alternate takes and deleted scenes.
The main gimmick to the disc is a branching feature that allows you to watch the movie, but occasionally interrupts to offer you the opportunity to watch a deleted scene or a series of alternate takes -- each take containing a different joke, turn of phrase, or even an entirely new way to deliver the punchline in question. This is both good and bad. The bad part is that rather than doing what other branching features in the past have done -- showing some sort of flashing logo or some such thing to alert you to the new material as the movie plays -- the movie stops and cuts to a picture of a remote control with Steve Carell arriving in the classic phone booth. It's rather jarring and altogether kind of annoying after a while. It's almost so abrasive that I might recommend not watching this feature. Except that there are two strong points in favor of it.
The first is that there is a TON of new material -- a few new scenes that further expand the film and its story, and scads of alternate takes. The second point is that almost every last bit of this material is very, very funny. Many of the deleted jokes aren't quite as funny as the final take, but they're funny nonetheless. Some of them were probably cut despite their effectiveness because they kind of change the way certain characters are viewed. And a few are clearly the cast just screwing around for the sake of the DVD. There are at least two or three additional minutes of Bill Murray alone. And one series of jokes that was excised from the film entirely includes some of my favorite gags in the whole movie. When one of the characters muttered, "Ew, what awful shoes," I about fell out of my chair.
Disc two is everything you've come to expect from a disc two: a making-of, an on-location piece, a gag reel. It's all worth taking a look at, if only because the incredible cast is just as funny off-screen as they are on. But the one piece really worth checking out is a three-and-a-half minute commercial (or series of commercials strung together) in which Carell pretends to be able to speak other languages. It's pretty funny.
All in all, I loved this movie in the theater and jockeyed to be able to cover the DVD -- and the disc didn't let me down.