When the creative juices aren't flowing, reach back and see if you can't retool a previous creation. And in the case of "Get Smart," if you combine today's technology (CGI and movie-making) and the older genre of film, toss in some modern terrorist-like threat, and you've got the makings of a winner of a film.
Maxwell Smart is a data analyst for the ultra-secret government agency CONTROL (which the public is told was disbanded at the end of the Cold War). Max spends his day listening to terrorist "chatter" (on his iPod), translating it and presenting it analysis of it to the agents (and when that gets too much, he switches over to ABBA for a bit). Max has also taken and failed the agent test seven times.
When Chief tells him he passed the test on try #8, the news is bittersweet -- while Max has passed, Chief simply can't afford to lose Max to the field, being by far the best analyst in CONTROL. Max takes the news like a champ, but when the CONTROL's secret headquarters is ransacked, presumably by members of the terror group KAOS, all of the agents' identities are compromised, and Chief needs an unknown agent to help crack the case. Max gets the happy news that he's now promoted to field agent, Agent 86. His partner, Agent 99, isn't too keen on working with the rookie agent, and is none too quiet about suffering through the assignment.
Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart seemed ideal; he's got the deadpan look down pat already, and that's just the sort of look we've come to expect from the Smart character. Agents 99 (Anne Hathaway), Agent 23 (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), Alan Arkin (Chief) and a host of other talent all keep things moving along wonderfully, with some cameos of random folks in random places as well just for grins (Agent 13 as Bill Murray, Patrick Warburton of TV's "Rules of Engagement" and often a voice talent from animated TV and films -- "Family Guy," "Kim Possible," "Bee Movie") all blend wonderfully under the guidance of director Peter Segal ("The Longest Yard," "50 First Dates," "Anger Management").
For those keeping an eye out for the "real" Max Smart, you'll only see him in memoriam in closing credits; he passed away in 2005. There were a handful of nods to the original series, however, including the little puppy whom Max was talking to during his first run-in (literally) with Agent 99 was named Fang, the museum pieces near the CONTROL office, and Max making a call from the shoe phone at one point (amongst others -- but we can't spoil all the fun, can we?).