Monday, March 19 , 2018, 6:46 am | Fair 39º


Cinema in Focus: ‘Get Smart’

Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway make the film, based on the award-winning TV series, entertainingly nostalgic.

2 Stars — Shallow/Entertaining

Steve Carrell gets it With the right blend of egotism and geekiness, along with little self-awareness, lots of luck and a pervasive panache, Carrell brings Maxwell Smart to life.

For those of us who grew up watching Don Adams in the original Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning TV series created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, Agent 86 was the epitome of Agent Everyman. Too smart for his own abilities and too egotistical to admit it, Max was an agent we all suspected we would be like if we were part of a secret spy agency like Control.

Anne Hathaway also gets it. Far more capable as an agent and yet unexpectedly caught off-guard by her admiration for Max, Anne portrays a believable Agent 99 (played in the TV series by Barbara Feldon). Sexy and alluring as she uses her beauty to protect our nation, we believe it when she is jealous of Max’s dance with an overweight partner and accept it when they become a couple. In other words, Peter Segal (50 First Dates and Anger Management) has created an entertaining and nostalgic film of two TV heroes in his film Get Smart.

For any who may not be aware of the storyline, Max and Agent 99 are part of a top-secret agency of the U.S. government called Control. Their arch enemies are the agents of Chaos. As their names explain, Chaos has little purpose other than to destroy things and create chaos throughout the world, while Control is attempting to keep or regain control and thus protect the American people.

When viewed as a simple comedy with a proven recipe, the film feast is delicious. Combining a suspenseful base of Mission Impossible with a generous portion of James Bond, the romance and escapades blend together well. When we add in loyalty and betrayal with a little political satire and a dash of triumph for geeks everywhere, the flavor is pleasing to all viewers.


» When The Chief (Alan Arkin) assumes that Max is a double agent and imprisons him, it is clear that their long-term friendship is harmed. Have you ever assumed something untrue about a long-term friend? Have you ever had a friend assume the worst about you which wasn’t true? How did you heal this breach of trust?

» When Max befriends the gigantic Dalip (Dalip Singh), he reveals his ability to use his smarts rather than violence to get out of difficulty. How have you averted violence by being smart?

» The drive that caused Max to never give up in his goal to become a field agent, even when he “took the test eight times,” is also what caused him to solve the case while imprisoned. Would you continue to try even after failing at something seven times? Why or why not?

Cinema In Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara, and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church on the Mesa. For more reviews, visit

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >