Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control isn’t so much a movie as it is a marketing experiment. Released just two weeks after the big screen success of Get Smart, it isn’t a sequel but a parallel story. The question is whether or not audiences who enjoyed the big screen outing will want to shell out a few more bucks to see a direct-to-video movie with some of the same characters. If so it could open the floodgates for more of this sort of thing. Imagine a Knocked Up knock off featuring only the three stoner roommates, but not the more likeable above-the-title stars Seth Rogen or Kathryn Heigl, and you get the idea.
Bruce and Lloyd (Masi Oka) and (Nate Torrence) are bumbling research and development nerds—sort of like Q from the James Bond movies—at CONTROL, the super secret spy organization that also employs Maxwell Smart. When the invisibility cloak they have recently perfected goes missing the pair must get it back before it falls into the hands of evil-doers KAOS.
My main complaint about the recent adaptation of Get Smart is that it wasn’t Get Smarty enough; that it differed from the classic television show so much that it should have been called something else and avoided the obvious comparison to the series.
Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control, however, has more of the scent of the original television series—corny jokes, outlandish inventions and two heroes that get by despite their ineptness—but none of its spirit. The level of humor here doesn’t even rise to Naked Gun levels, let alone Get Smart as written by its creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. I wondered while watching if it was designed for kids, but there are several examples of language and situations that seemed unsuitable for the age the jokes seemed to be aimed at. It’s not raunchy at all, but a number of one-liners are off color enough to make the parents of ten year olds blush. So, if it’s not for kids and not really funny enough to keep older attention spans engaged, who is it for?
It’s a direct to video release, which means we’re getting the b-team here. Steve Carell, The Rock and Alan Arkin are no where to be seen—although Anne Hathaway makes a gratuitous and uncredited appearance—instead we get Larry Miller, Patrick Warburton and a director whose past credits include the Closet Full of Hell episode of Dharma and Greg. Rent Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control with lowered expectations and you may not be too disappointed; better yet check out the original series on disc and settle in for a night of real retro laughs.
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