Maxwell "Max" Smart, an analyst for the top secret American intelligence agency, CONTROL, yearns to become a field agent like his idol, Agent 23. Despite top scores in the acceptance tests, Max is denied the promotion due to his higher value as an analyst. When CONTROL headquarters is attacked by the terrorist organization KAOS, almost all of CONTROL's agents' identities are exposed, leaving only Agent 99 as a viable field operative. Max is also promoted to field agent as Agent 86, but the experienced 99 is reluctant to partner with him because of his incompetence.
The two infiltrate the mansion of KAOS' chief bomb-maker, Ladislas Krstic, and trace nuclear material to a KAOS nuclear weapons factory disguised as a Moscow bakery. In the bakery, Max meets with KAOS boss Siegfried and his second-in-command, Shtarker, only to learn that a double-agent has compromised their identities. Max manages to escape and destroy the weapons factory, but he and 99 are confronted by a KAOS agent named Dalip; Max manages to persuade Dalip to spare their lives. The Chief sends 23 to observe the cleanup of the factory, but KAOS sneaks the weapons out through the Moskva River beforehand, leaving 23 convinced that only a bakery had been destroyed. Realizing that Max was alone during his key discoveries, CONTROL believes Max to be the double-agent. 99, who has been gradually falling in love with Max, is heartbroken but takes Max into custody.
Siegfried contacts the U.S. government and threatens to release nuclear weapon detonator codes to hostile countries unless he is paid a ransom of $200 billion. When his threats are not taken seriously, KAOS plans to detonate a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. While Max is in a CONTROL holding cell, Dalip sends him a coded message via the radio show American Top 40 alerting him to Siegfried's plan. Max escapes; arrives in Los Angeles to reunite with the Chief, 99, and 23; and convinces them that he is not the double-agent. When his Geiger counter-equipped watch picks up traces of radiation from 23, they realize 23 is the real double-agent.
23 takes 99 hostage and flees in a vehicle. After a chase, Max manages to rescue 99, but in the struggle, the car is set on fire and forced onto railroad tracks. Max kisses 23 to distract him, a trick learned from 99. He and 99 are thrown off the vehicle before it collides with a freight train, killing 23. After analyzing 23's nuclear football, Max realizes that the bomb will be triggered by the final note of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". They rush to the Disney Hall, and Max tackles the elderly conductor just before the final note, saving the President and Los Angeles. Siegfried, despite his plan failing, is satisfied with Dalip's performance and promises not to kill his wife in response, but insults her at the same Time. In response, Dalip throws Siegfried into a river.
Back in CONTROL headquarters, a party is held in Max's honor, where 99 gives him a puppy. Max is afterwards given honors and gets his dream of becoming a real spy. While leaving, Max attempts to fix the jammed door, much to 99's dismay, and crushes himself into the door frame.Steve Carell as Maxwell "Max" Smart / Agent 86, a man who wishes to become a better spyAnne Hathaway as Agent 99, the partner and eventual love interest of SmartDwayne Johnson as Agent 23, a hotshot CONTROL agent and idol of SmartAlan Arkin as The Chief, the head of CONTROL and the boss of SmartTerence Stamp as Siegfried, the head of KAOSMasi Oka as Bruce, a technological mastermind who works at CONTROL. A friend of Smart.Nate Torrence as Lloyd, Bruce's friend and co-worker at CONTROLDalip Singh as Dalip, a KAOS agentKen Davitian as Shtarker, Siegfried's second-in-commandTerry Crews as Agent 91, a CONTROL agent.David Koechner as Larabee, a CONTROL worker. Friend of Agent 91.James Caan as the President of the United StatesGeoff Pierson as the Vice President of the United StatesDavid S. Lee as Ladislas Krstic, chief bomb maker of KAOSLindsay Hollister as Max's dance partner in the party hosted by Krstic.Bill Murray as Agent 13Patrick Warburton as HymieStephen Dunham as Secret Service Commander
Bernie Kopell, who played Siegfried in the original TV series, has a cameo as a motorist driving an Opel GT, a car featured in the TV series.
This film's score was composed by Trevor Rabin who had previously scored films such as Armageddon, Enemy of the State and Deep Blue Sea.
All music composed by Trevor Rabin.
A corresponding film, Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd: Out of Control (featuring Oka, Torrence, Miller, Warburton, Crews and a cameo by Hathaway reprising their roles), was released on DVD on July 1, 2008, eleven days after the feature film's theatrical release. The film tells a standalone story that takes place concurrently with the events within the film (including a scene in which Agent 99 calls Lloyd and angrily berates him for the poor quality of her gadgets compared to Max's; that scene takes place immediately after Max accidentally renders himself unconscious with a blowgun during a stakeout in the main film).
In addition to traditional television advertisement and movie trailers, Warner Bros. commissioned Pepsi to produce a flavor of Sierra Mist soft drink dubbed "Undercover Orange" to help promote the film. Warner Bros. has also funded an online community called "CONTROL vs. KAOS" where visitors can participate in contests and "missions".
In Latin America, Get Smart was shown in a Spanish language dubbed version, produced in Mexico. The theatrical posters had a sticker that highlighted the return of Jorge "El Tata" Arvizu, a highly regarded Mexican actor who was returning to the character after a 13-year hiatus, having dubbed Don Adams in the 1960s TV series and again in the short-lived 1990s Get Smart TV series starring Andy Dick.
Get Smart received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 51%, based on 215 reviews, with the site's critical consensus reading, "Get Smart rides Steve Carell's considerable charm for a few laughs, but in the end is a rather ordinary Summer comedy." Metacritic gave the film a score of 54 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The film received positive reviews from Roger Ebert and Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times also gave the film a thumbs up, saying that it was "one of the more pleasant surprises of the year". Critic James Berardinelli also gave it a positive review.
Negative responses came from Glenn Whipp of the Los Angeles Daily News calling it "staggeringly bad" and Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle stating that "It couldn't buy a laugh in a nitrous oxide factory with a fistful of clown noses." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times said "it neglects the laughs and amps up the action, resulting in a not very funny comedy joined at the hip to a not very exciting spy movie."
It also received negative reviews from Richard Schickel from Time and David Ansen from Newsweek, with the latter stating, "it's not Maxwell who's clueless, but the filmmakers ... Director (Pete) Segal ... is a comedy specialist lacking any apparent sense of humor."
Get Smart grossed $130.3 million domestically and $100.3 million internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $230.7 million. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $38.6 million in 3,911 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office and averaging $9,891 per venue. The film was released in the United Kingdom on August 22, 2008, and opened on #3, behind Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Mamma Mia!.
Get Smart was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 4, 2008 by Warner Home Video. Two versions of the film were released: the theatrical version and an enhanced version that allows viewers to view alternate takes and deleted scenes placed within the context of the film.
The film was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on February 23, 2009. Approximately 2,088,163 DVD units were sold, translating to revenue of $34,652,714 (Blu-ray sales/rentals not included).
On October 7, 2008, it was reported that Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures were producing a sequel. Carell, Hathaway, and Arkin were set to return, but the status of other cast members had yet to be announced. In July 2010, Steve Carell stated that he had recently been given a potential script for the sequel to Get Smart, but had passed on it. He said that he was still very interested in eventually making a Get Smart sequel, but was willing to wait until a decent script was developed.
"I took a pass at Get Smart 2, wrote a completely new story and we'll see what happens with that somewhere down the line perhaps... Anne Hathaway is definitely in and Alan Arkin, so at some point... we don't have any projected date and the script still needs some tweaking and some rewriting."
During 2013, Carell stated that it was unlikely that there really would be a sequel. In December 2013, however, Peter Segal claimed a Get Smart 2 had been close to being made, with the "funny script" written by Carell himself.