Australian Council on Children and the Media

Get Smart

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Not recommended under 8, Parental guidance to 13 due to violence, themes and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Get Smart
  • a review of Get Smart completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 July 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence, themes and coarse language
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, themes and coarse language
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Get Smart
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Comedic violence and coarse language
Length 110 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell), US spy agency Control’s top analyst, harbours aspirations to be a field agent like his hero, Agent 23 (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). His boss, Chief (Alan Arkin), is reluctant to lose Max’s skills at headquarters, but when the evil KAOS organisation attacks Control central and kills off its agents, Chief has no choice but to give Max a chance.
Max is partnered with the experienced and beautiful Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), who is unimpressed with her new associate. Max (now agent 86) and 99 set off for Eastern Europe and uncover an illegal nuclear arms deal, headed by KAOS operative, Siegfried (Terrence Stamp). In uncovering the KAOS plot, a possible double agent and the risk to the US president (James Caan), Max and 99 develop the respect, trust and friendship they need in order to save the day.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Espionage

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Siegfried callously shoots dead one of his associates who dares to question him. The dead body is not seen and no blood is shown.
  • During a paint ball skirmish training exercise, agents shoot each other (including in the groin) with paint balls. Those hit are in pain. This is a depicted as a comedic scene.
  • Agent 99 knocks Max down in the street and then a trolley runs over his foot. He is briefly in pain but recovers quickly.
  • In the nearly destroyed Control headquarters, Max attempts to protect 99 and himself from suspected KAOS agents. There is a fight scene, during Max accidentally knocks Chief unconscious. This latter action is portrayed in a humorous light.
  • Several Control agents are shot dead and one agent is knocked down by a bus. No blood is shown.
  • During the flight to Chechnya, Max gets mistaken for a terrorist and is tackled to the ground and shackled in the plane’s toilet by a federal marshall.
  • While trying to escape from the toilet, Max uses his mini-harpoon to stab through his binding tapes. He ends up harpooning himself through the face, ear, nose, foot. He appears in pain each time, but keeps persisting in his attempts.
  • After Max seemingly sets back their plans, an angry 99 holds a gun to his head, punches him and then slaps him in the face.
  • Agent 23 staples a piece of paper to Agent Lareby’s head. Lareby screams out and appears in pain. While the scene is humorous, Agent 23 is reprimanded by Chief.
  • There are several scenes in which Max and 99 shoot, punch and kick KAOS henchmen, resulting in the deaths of many men.
  • Max and 99 are thrown around, squashed and hit by the big ‘bad guy’. They are only temporarily hurt during the fight.
  • After a verbal dispute with the Vice-President, Chief gets into a physical altercation with the VP. This is depicted in a comic light.
  • Max, 99 and Agent 23 have a huge fight scene in a car on an LA freeway. They punch, hit and kick each other.
  • Max tackles an orchestra conductor to the ground. The conductor gets up and is frazzled but otherwise uninjured.
  • The ‘big bad guy’ throws Siegfried out of his car into the river below. 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under five, including the following:

  • Max enters an eerily quiet Control headquarters to find it destroyed. He and 99 then see some shadowy big men in suits approach and take cover. Max successfully attacks the men with an out of control hose, only to discover they are Control agents.
  • Max accidentally ejects himself out of a plane, and is shown plummeting towards the ground without a parachute. He is screaming, but the scene is a comedic one. 99 then jumps out of the plane with a parachute and rescues him. They are then attacked by a large ‘bad guy’, starting a fight in mid-air. The bad guy eventually falls to the ground and into a barn, on top of a pig and through the floorboards. He survives the fall.
  • A screaming pig is thrown out of a barn and it hits a farmer.
  • While attempting to blow sedating darts at some guards, Max accidentally ingests the poisoned dart and passes out.
  • Max’s attempts to enter a room with laser security are thwarted when a rat crawls into his suit. He gets very anxious and distracted, and ends with many minor laser cuts into his suit.
  • When the uranium plant is destroyed in a huge explosion, Max and 99 escape by swinging across the road on a cable. They hit a wall and slip towards the ground, narrowly missing hitting the ground at full speed.
  • Agent 23 takes 99 hostage and holds a gun to her head. Following this there is an extended chase scene involving a dangerous car chase on the freeway, with 99, 23 and Max all fighting in and on the car, Chief trying to fly a plane above the car and then the car ending up on rail tracks, facing a rapidly approaching train. When the train hits the car, it appears as if both Agent 23 and Max have been killed in the explosion.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the scenes listed above.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Ipod
  • Mac and Dell computers
  • Coco Chanel sunglasses

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Max refers to having received a ‘sucker punch to the gonads’.
  • After dancing with Kristic, 99 asks Max whether he saw anything. He misinterprets her and says “yes, but I don’t think you expected him to dip you so far’.
  • While using gymnastic-like moves to avoid laser security, 99 asks Max is he is looking at her ‘butt’. He denies it, but can’t help himself.
  • 99 and Agent 23’s previous love affair is revealed, and Max states that he feels incredibly sexually inadequate.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • 99 is briefly shown in her underwear
  • Max and 99 kiss twice in the movie.
  • 99 shows some leg to get into a party in Chechnya
  • Max tries to escape from a room, but needs the help of an unconscious guard. When another man walks past the room, it appears as if Max and the guard are having sex. 
  • Max bows to the audience and then the orchestra, revealing his bare bottom through his well-worn trousers.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Frickin’, damn, dammit, bitch, Yankee assholes ( in subtitles), kick your ass, dickwads, holy shit.
  • One girl gives a group of girls a middle finger gesture.

In a nutshell

Get Smart is a ‘good versus evil’ action spy comedy based on the television series of the 1960s. Young children may find some scenes scary and storyline a little complicated. Older children and adults are likely to enjoy the slapstick humour and the throw-away one liners.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Friendships, respect, trust
  • Teamwork
  • Persistence and believing in your capabilities
  • Not everything is a competition
  • Using intelligence and understanding to resolve conflicts

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Being judgemental
  • Betrayal
  • Using violence to resolve problems
  • Belittling, bullying, name calling.

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