Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd out of ControlHere’s an interesting concept: what if you made a companion film to the big-budget blockbuster action comedy event of the summer? Pretty clever, right? Sounds like a sure-fire hit, doesn’t it? In a perfect world, perhaps it would be, but in this world we live in, it’s something in the vicinity of a miserable failure. On the upside, Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control is in many ways more enjoyable than it’s better known theatrical companion Get Smart… but to everyone’s chagrin – not least of all mine – that’s not saying much at all. And now that it’s clear that Get Smart is definitely NOT the resounding success it was meant to be, it’s going to be harder for our smaller side characters to sell a straight-to-DVD spin-off film a few weeks later.  It’s actually difficult to explain this interesting concept gone awry. But I’ll do my best.

Consider the idea: take two smaller characters (gadget geeks Bruce and Lloyd – Masi Oka and Nate Torrence, respectively) from the theatrical Get Smart remake, give them a little mission of their own, and throw in just enough cameos and bigger budget set pieces to make audiences feel like they’re watching a real movie… oh and be sure to establish that all of the events take place concurrently with the events in the actual Get Smart movie. I have to admit, it’s a pretty sweet idea, and that makes it even sadder that this hour long groaner is as bad as it is. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what went wrong here… ah, who am I kidding, no it’s not. The script, thrown together by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, is mostly to blame. It’s like these guys took all the jokes that didn’t make the cut from their Get Smart script (and, let’s be honest, those jokes were no knee-slappers, either) and threw them into this little side project. So our heroes, the titular Bruce and Lloyd, end up trying to push unfunny sight gags and painfully dead-on-arrival verbal riffs through a set that’s lit like an ABC Family television show. Occasionally the bits work, but the laughs are few and far between, mostly ending with a light slap to the forehead and a slow shake of the head.

It’s not that our leads aren’t endearing. Torrence and Oka are enjoyable to watch and they’ve got the friendly everyman vibes to keep the audience on their side… but they’re just not funny here. Torrence comes off with tv show affability, but it’s too heavily relied on and you should just catch him in “Studio 60” and stay away from this. Here, Torrence stammers and sweats his way through a painfully predictable script while Emmy nominee Masi Oka must be wondering how he got talked into this. I just hope the guys got paid well. They seem to be enjoying themselves, and that can rub off on the audience from time to time, but most of the time it’s just dead space. There are a few “celebrity” cameos, most notably Terry Crews and Larry Miller recapping their roles from the real film, but Larry Miller is no Alan Arkin, and when he steps into the chief’s role here (as a twin brother to his theatrical character), it’s a bit much. There’s also a few seconds from one of the leads of Get Smart, but it’s so wooden and pointless that it’s actually detrimental to the film, although it does give you a second to wonder just how they got permission to use the footage.

The bottom line is: this film is a failure on so many levels. It’s unfunny and derivative, yes, but that’s not it’s real downfall. The real downfall comes from seeing the film Get Smart, a film this spinoff is supposed to follow time-wise, and seeing the Bruce and Lloyd in the film acting quite a bit differently than the Bruce and Lloyd here. That alone would make this short an exercise in futility, but the dragging humor and groaning punch-lines really seal the deal. Director Gil Junger (10 Things I Hate About You) has come downhill in the last decade, but things can only look up from here. I’d suggest staying away from this film, unless you somehow found great pleasure in watching the theatrical revamp… I mean desecration… of Get Smart trudge its way through scene after scene of inanity. This is more of the same, only 35 minutes shorter and millions of dollars cheaper.

Zach’s Rating: D+
Perfect For: Someone who really doesn’t know what to do with their stimulus check…
Stay Away if: You have TiVo… just watch “Heroes”

To purchase Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control, visit Amazon

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