Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control

I really enjoyed the new Get Smart movie, so I decided to buy into their new gimmick of releasing a spin-off DVD during the theatrical run. There are some theories about why they did it, like “they had too much footage of Bruce and Lloyd and decided to make a movie out of it!” which I wish were true. Sadly, the cumbersome-titled Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control is helmed by a different director, lacks even a cameo or archive footage of the biggest stars, and feels like one of those American Pie direct-to-DVD sequels.

Tell my agent to get me the hell out of this movie!

I imagine it will get plenty of traffic from hungry-hungry “Heroes” fans wanting to see more Masi Oka, who plays Hiro on that show. He’s Bruce. Or wait a minute- is he Lloyd? That’s one of the running “gags,” that people mix up their names. Nate Torrence plays Lloyd, the fat one. The actors are actually pretty funny on their own, when the script lets them ramble and be the nerds their characters are. Unfortunately it only gives them a few chances to do this, and expends a lot of time on badly-timed slapstick that showcases the director’s mediocrity.

Say “frying man!” again, fatboy. I dare you.

Gil Junger, who directed the surprisingly good 10 Things I Hate About You, seems to have gone downhill ever since. The scriptwriters are the same from the Get Smart movie, but they seem to have written this overnight for a contractual obligation. The energy of the two leads saves this movie from the trash can, and in the words of The Mouth from the South, it’s “watchable.” He also thought 10,000 B.C. was “watchable,” which reminds me of when survivalists say you can survive by drinking your own urine. Sure, you could, but wouldn’t you rather have a Fresca?

Scenery’s got a lot of protein. That’s why I chew it.

The plot begins with a strongman in Maraguay (get it? it’s not Paraguay or Uruguay!) who captures a scientist to make him build weapons. Then we get to see Terry Crews appear in his one scene on the paintball course, in a decently funny bit. He’s demonstrating one of Bruce & Lloyd’s gadgets, an invisibility cloak, called the O-C-T. Of course it malfunctions, then he grabs his paycheck and runs like hell, leaving our two geeks to scratch their chins and consider how to improve it. The movie really goes astray when it tries to shoehorn this story in the background to the A-list movie, to explain why Max and the Chief are nowhere to be found. In reality, Carell, Arkin and The Rock probably gave the producers the finger when they were asked to star in a direct-to-DVD movie; Anne Hathaway agreed for some reason, and we see her on the phone with Lloyd at one point, for no good reason.

I can believe an invisibility cloak, but not these guys with these gals.

Instead of the Chief, we get the Underchief, played by Larry Miller- a once funny guy reduced to being the hamster’s bitch in movies like Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps. He’s the go-to guy in Hollywood when you need a slimy asshole character on a budget, and that’s his job here. He wants the OCT ready ASAP, and of course their rivals at the CIA take it on the QT, and that’s not A-OK. Will our nerds be able to get it back? Will they ever get a date? Will Patrick Warburton ever be appreciated?

Some of the best bits are over the credits or on special features.

The movie isn’t bad, but it’s probably best viewed long after you’ve seen it’s daddy in theaters, because it feels very lacking in comparison. For a direct DVD release it’s better than most, and certainly has its funny moments. It feels overlong at 71 minutes, but there are some cute features that are actually funnier than most of the movie. I think the movie was overburdened with plot, and would have worked best like an Office Space type movie with the gadget nerds as their everyday selves, pranking back and forth with the CIA, trying to overcome the forensic hottie’s stinky aroma, and trying to get Hymie the Robot (the as-usual criminally underutilized Patrick Warburton) to work properly. Hopefully Hymie will appear more often in the inevitable sequel.

It’s not a bad way to kill an hour and change if you’re stuck inside escaping the heat or the rain on July 4th, or if you just can’t get enough of Masi Oka. If you’re expecting more madcap laughs like the Carell movie had, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Venture Brothers Season 3 Premiere

WTF?

Well, the Venture Bros. returned to Adult Swim for a third season last night. Or at least the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend did. Apart from Brock Samson’s arm hanging out the window of his ’68 Charger, the episode is all about every nerd’s favorite arch-villain, the Monarch.

There is such a thing as too much Monarch.

I like the squeaky-voiced arch-nemesis of Dr. Venture as much as anybody- he’s easy to relate to, as an obsessed raving lunatic with bumbling henchmen who foil his every plan. Maybe that says more about me than it does about the Monarch. And how can you not love Dr. Girlfriend, with her froggy voice (you can’t call it husky like Kathleen Turner’s) and Jackie Onassis bod? There’s a doctoral thesis about Dr. G waiting to be written, about why nerds are so drawn to a slinky cartoon gal voiced by a guy. Liberal arts majors take note.

I’m with Brock on this one. Tranny.

The show was funny but disappointing in some ways- I don’t like how they’re concentrating on the Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend, Phantom Limb and the Guild of Calamitous Intent again. I thought that story arc was done in Season 2? It’s too bad Stephen Colbert is too fucking big to voice Dr. Impossible again (or even answer Jackson Publick‘s calls) but can’t we find out more about Dr. Venture’s li’l brother? I know he’ll be back this season, but the show is at it’s best when we’re seeing the neurotic and hapless antics of both Dr. Venture and the Monarch, or at least having them both make an appearance.

Everyone’s favorite henchmen

One of the best shows is still “Tag Sale! You’re It!” where the Monarch and Dr. G show up at Venture’s yard sale of doomsday devices to avoid bankruptcy. We’re starting to dip into dangerous fan service territory. Seeing the Moppets cock-punch the entire gang of Monarch henchmen was gratifying, and the Guild Council was pretty funny, but I’m hoping this is the last of the all-Monarch episodes. He’s a great character, but he needs his foil, Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture. Admittedly we do see a few shots of college-age Venture, and the show was still quite good. Here’s hoping that like The Sopranos, the season opener isn’t a harbinger of the whole season, and that they’re saving the best stuff for later.

Just one jaw-dropping surprise in the show’s pants.