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Smart People (2008)

tomatometer

50

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 142
Fresh: 71 | Rotten: 71

Despite its sharp cast and a few laughs, Smart People is too thinly plotted to fully resonate.

51

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 41
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 20

Despite its sharp cast and a few laughs, Smart People is too thinly plotted to fully resonate.

audience

39

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 102,264

My Rating

Movie Info

Commercial director Noam Murro makes the leap to feature films with this comedy drama concerning an aging professor-turned-bitter eccentric due to the death of his longtime wife. Ever since his wife passed away, Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) has become overly acerbic and self-absorbed. He's alienated his son (Ashton Holmes) and transformed his daughter (Ellen Page) into a friendless overachiever. Now, at the precise moment Lawrence thought he had finally figured it all out, his life comes

R,

Drama, Romance, Comedy

Mark Jude Poirier

Aug 12, 2008

$9.5M

Miramax Films - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (146) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (71) | DVD (19)

So much good work must not go overlooked. I just loved this movie because it's witty, intellectual without being pretentious, and filled with characters who are logically stressed and anxious to connect to a world outside of themselves.

April 16, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Observer | Comment (1)
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Smart People is an indie film that plays the (jangle, jangle) same chords (strum, strum) as a lot of other heartfelt comedies about too-wise children and codgers taking humanity lessons.

April 16, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In his first film as director, Noam Murro creates moments of comic disconnection, relieved by minuscule surges of warmth. He's very precise; he has a nice touch.

April 14, 2008 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Good acting, nice smart script.

April 14, 2008 | Comment (1)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[A] middling romantic comedy.

April 14, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The excellent script for Smart People is the work of Mark Jude Poirier, a fiction writer who has clearly spent enough time around English departments to have studied the tribal ways of the literary professoriate with ethnographic rigor.

April 14, 2008 | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Doesn't exactly oust The Royal Tenenbaums or The Squid and the Whale, but this family-go-round sitcom is a lot more accessible.

May 6, 2010 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Noam Murro's direction follows a sitcom blueprint

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion | Comment (1)
CinePassion

Smart People is a film of chuckles about smart but chuckle-headed people.

February 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Fayetteville Free Weekly
Fayetteville Free Weekly

It's so well-made, so well-acted and so impressively (for lack of a better word) smart that anyone who seeks it out will find something to admire and enjoy in its craft and heart.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinematical
Cinematical

Smarter than your average romantic comedy it may be, but this family-dysfunction indie is playing it a bit safe.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Award-winning commercial director Noam Murro helms a fine cast playing all-too-familiar roles.

October 18, 2008
Palo Alto Weekly

Cutesy early and then becomes more complicated.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Insiders
Entertainment Insiders

All atmosphere and no plot makes Smart People a dull watch.

September 8, 2008 Full Review Source: ReelzChannel.com

... a deadly dull narrative about four depressed stereotypes who spend an hour and a half going from unhappy to slightly less unhappy.

August 27, 2008 Full Review Source: DVD Review
DVD Review

The charm of Smart People is watching these characters squirm and eventually come out of their shells.

August 24, 2008 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Even in pointing out the falseness of talking down to people for the sake of coming across as intelligent, Smart People does just that.

August 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Dennis Quaid and Ellen Page stand out here as a father and daughter who may have high IQ's -- but rate below zero in terms of their human relations skills.

August 11, 2008 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Works too hard to achieve a quirky tone that should come effortlessly.

August 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Metromix.com
Metromix.com

...succeeds more as an actor's showcase than as a fully-realized, consistently compelling film.

August 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

A cast of such sad sacks, that it's pretty astonishing when the lusty sparks begin to fly between any of them, and with an overload of brain power coming across as some kind of mental impairment. Sarah Jessica Parker's Sex and the UniverCity comedown.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze
NewsBlaze

It wanders all over the place before ending abruptly. With the talent involved, it seems like such a waste.

June 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Sin Magazine
Sin Magazine

Dennis Quaid is the college professor of your nightmares in the dryly humorous, laid-back comedy 'Smart People.'

June 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Atlantic City Weekly
Atlantic City Weekly

This is yet another indie populated by quirky characters %u2013 it's no surprise that it came out of Sundance %u2013 but for once, it doesn't overdo the quirk, minus a few exceptions.

June 3, 2008 Full Review Source: The Cinema Source

Audiences who love seeing cranky, emotionally blocked characters find a chance to bloom will be happy to endure the withering onscreen insults but I didn't have much use for these dyspeptic folks and was happy to see them go.

May 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Windy City Times
Windy City Times

This is very much a dysfunctional-drama-by-numbers and there's very little here you haven't seen elsewhere but it's worth seeing for a film-stealing performance by Thomas Haden Church.

May 16, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

Audience Reviews for Smart People

If the film doesn't depress/bore you then the soundtrack will. This film is incorrectly sold as a comedy. I've had funnier colds. Dennis Quaid and Thomas Haden Church were ok, they did what they were hired to do I suppose. Sarah Jessica Parker and Ellen Page did too but somehow became even more repellent than they already were. The story, characters and everything is unlikable. This results in an immensely unsatisfactory feeling when it's over as you realise you have wasted 80 minutes of your life. Time seems a little more precious as a result. The irony is that neither smart people or stupid people will like it.
January 13, 2014
SirPant

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
November 20, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

One of my favorite movies. This film is a refreshing take on the role of smart people in society, taking one broken family trying to rebuild itself after the loss of their mother/wife. Quiad plays an antisocial literature proffesor, whose daugther, played by Ellen Page, is following in his footsteps. Throw in a degenerate uncle and an attractive female counterpoint and this movie is a classic recipe for a decent movie. Funny, sad and eye opening I really do love this movie.
January 23, 2011
theunknownhobo
Unknown Hobo

Super Reviewer

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