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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Here's an idea that I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of in the future. To coincide with the release of Get Smart, Warner Premiere is releasing a direct-to-DVD spinoff featuring two supporting characters from that film. Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control focuses on the gadget developers played by Masi Oka and Nate Torrence. I'm not sure that this plan is a great idea for every film but, as someone who loved Get Smart, I was pleasantly surprised by this title. It doesn't necessarily stand alone, although if you saw Get Smart and liked the Bruce and Lloyd characters, then you can get a certain level of enjoyment out of their pseudo-sequel.

The plot is pretty simple: Bruce (Oka) and Lloyd (Torrence) are working on a secret invisibility cloak. After they perfect it, the cloak is stolen, but it's a question of who took it. Was it the sultry foreign beauty who was coming on to Lloyd? Or was it an operative from the evil KAOS organization? Or even a competing government agency? Maybe even all of the above? Helping them put the pieces together is forensic examiner Nina (Jayma Mays), who also becomes Bruce's main squeeze in the process despite the fact that she reeks of formaldehyde. Their search for the missing item occurs in tandem with Maxwell Smart's first mission as a CONTROL agent, and while Steve Carell does not appear in this movie, several scenes take place either immediately before or immediately after scenes from Get Smart. In other words, if you've seen the big screen counterpart, there are hidden little jokes and references here.

Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control was written by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, who also wrote Get Smart. Many of the same supporting actors appear, including Terry Crews, Patrick Warburton (who provides more hi-jinx as the robot Hymie), and Anne Hathaway (who appears for a funny cameo). It has clearly been designed to be complimentary to its cinematic sibling, featuring the same kind of action/humor mix on a less grand scale.

Is it worth seeing? Yes, so long as you saw Get Smart and cracked up at the antics of Bruce and Lloyd. While the main feature is certainly a better film, I found the whole spinoff idea kind of intriguing in this case. That's because Masi Oka and Nate Torrence have an unexpectedly strong comic chemistry together. They're funny as these tech-obsessed geeks, without ever crossing the line into obnoxiousness. And with a breezy 72-minute running time, they never grow tiresome. I could see this kind of thing going way wrong; for instance, you wouldn't necessarily want to see a spinoff featuring the third old lady on the left from You Don't Mess With the Zohan. In this case, though, the material and the concept are right to provide, if not genius, at least a few half-decent chuckles.

The thing that keeps Bruce and Lloyd from being equal to Get Smart is…well, it doesn't have Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway. Also, it's not as coherent a film as its big-screen counterpart; the story tends to be a little episodic. Although you couldn't take this movie, put it in theaters, and expect people to shell out eight bucks to see it, DVD is a different game. Expectations are lowered a little, and people often rent movies just for some pleasant, mindless entertainment. If you liked these guys and want to see a little more of them, Bruce and Lloyd is worth a look.

( 1/2 out of four)

DVD Features:

Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Warner Premiere. Widescreen and fullscreen formats are available on the same disc.

The bonus features begin with "Confessions of a Lab Tech," an overlong and under-funny montage of the characters talking directly into the camera, a la "The Real World." "Cue the Anti-Follicular Device" is devoted to showing how a scene involving a hair-reduction gadget was filmed. This segment is okay, but has little that's informative. Finally, there's "Bruce and Lloyd Tech," which looks at the gizmos the characters used. Real-life scientists are interviewed talking about whether such things could be possibly developed. Turns out some of them are not all that far-fetched. This is the best of the features.

Purchase it online here

Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control - Own it on DVD July 1

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