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For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Jan. 3, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original ‘Get Smart’ TV series with Don Adams and Barbara Feldon had been off the air for a decade when a theatrical sequel, ‘The Nude Bomb’ — aka ‘The Return of Maxwell Smart’ — (with Adams but not Feldon), hit the scene. And ‘bomb’ is right; it was a box-office flop. Nonetheless, a TV-movie sequel came along in 1989, and ‘Get Smart Again!’ (this time with both Adams and Feldon) was more successful, causing an uptick in the popularity of the series’ syndicated reruns. A ‘Get Smart’ theatrical reboot with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway came along in 2008 but failed to ignite a franchise. Anyway, for some reason Kino Lorber has decided to give ‘The Nude Bomb’ a Blu-ray upgrade, so here’s my review, published in the Deseret News on May 28, 1980. (The PG-rated film was made four years before the PG-13 rating was introduced.)

The first Maxwell Smart movie is hilarious.

Would you believe funny?

How about mildly amusing?

Okay, it’s silly, dumb and not worth paying the admission price.

Sorry about that.

“Get Smart” was an extremely popular James Bond spoof as a half-hour series for three years on NBC in the late 1960s, then on CBS for two more years. But something happens to the charm when characters suited to a 19-inch screen are blown up to 40 feet on the theater screen.


There’s not much encouragement from most past movies made from TV series — “McHale’s Navy” and “McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force,” “Batman,” “Gunn,” “Here Come the Nelsons,” “Munster Go Home.” Though all came from popular TV shows they were pretty bad big-screen features, usually small-budget summer movies that made little, if any, profit.

But last year, “The Muppet Movie” and “Star Trek – The Motion Picture” showed that it can be done. They were both very well produced films with special effects too costly for TV and they maintained the charm of the originals.

“The Nude Bomb,” however, looks like it was made for no reason other than to give Don Adams a job.

As you might expect, despite “The Muppet Movie” and “Star Trek” proving that a G-rated movie can make money, “The Nude Bomb” is rated PG because the writers have included a number of tasteless jokes (most of them dealing with groins) and profanities that they could never get away with on TV.

Barbara Feldon as 99 and Edward Platt as the Chief are sorely missing (Platt passed away a few years ago), and the unique charm of a simple James Bond spoof has been trampled by all the imitators of the 1960s and the Bond series itself.


“The Nude Bomb” opens with a spoof of the opening sequence from “Moonraker,” a free-fall air fight that’s not too bad — and occasionally a few jokes provoke a mild chuckle.

But generally, this story — of Smart being ordered by P.I.T.S. (replacing the TV agency, C.O.N.T.R.O.L.) to stop K.A.O.S. from bombing the world with weapons that cause all fabric to disappear — is pretty thin stuff.

There are lots of “Sorry about that’s,” and “Would you believes,” and shoe-phone jokes (the latter now has touch-tone and an answering shoe), and Smart drives a motorized desk and chases the villain through the Universal Studio lot (allowing an opportunity for lots of plugs for Universal movies; “Jaws” makes a brief appearance) … but who really cares?

“The Nude Bomb” is merely a bomb.

If you want to “Get Smart,” don’t see this film.

And I’m not sorry about that!

“The Nude Bomb” is rated PG for mild profanity, violence and brief nudity.

EDITOR’S ENDNOTE: It should be noted that since 1980 there have been a number of successful theatrical films based on old TV series, most notably ‘The Untouchables,’ ‘The Fugitive’ (which spawned a sequel), ‘The Addams Family’ (which spawned a sequel and an animated feature) and the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise (six films and counting).