Smart People

2008, Comedy/Romance, 1h 34m

151 Reviews 100,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

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

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Movie Info

Acerbic, selfish and widowed, literature professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) is estranged from his son and his overachieving teenage daughter. Just as he begins a relationship with a former student (Sarah Jessica Parker), Lawrence's ne'er-do-well adoptive brother (Thomas Haden Church) lands on his doorstep. Lawrence realizes he must make some changes in his life and reconnect with his children in order to get on with his life.

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Critic Reviews for Smart People

Audience Reviews for Smart People

  • Jun 09, 2016
    Smart people are not smart at all.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2011
    Smart People could have been a "smart" film but it instead squanders its talent and the screenplay leaves much to be desired. What could have been either a good drama or comedy film, Smart People is simply a slow moving and desperate story of miserable people. These characters know their issues but also are under the impression that they can't change and these situations make up a bulk of the story. It's not until the closing frames we see any real attempt at some revelation on the part of our main protagonist. What this means is that we are left with a character who simply is arrogant and conceited and the price he must pay in his relationships isn't overly meditative or amusing in any way. Instead of a smart and entertaining film dealing with the deeply emotional impacts of behavior on relationships and changing for the betterment of said relationships and instead the viewer is left with a contrived mess.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2010
    We don't really learn how intelligence has hurt the main character, but how emotional stupidity hurts everyone and the characters have to become smarter about it. There is only one character who is chronically afflicted. Dennis Quaid's performance makes the movie, even with one seduction scene that's written out of character. Ellen Page and Thomas Haden Church are meant to score points with their lines Juno-style, and sitcom-style, and they do. The subplot of her lonely infatuation with the adopted uncle goes bumpy as the uncle creates some distance, being a responsible adult, but starts withdrawing in the style of a child. (And more and more, the girl talks to him like she's a manipulative lech.) I don't know if the two characters' attitudes toward achievement and worldly acceptance are meant to average into some vision of real happiness and fulfillment. For some reason, we're supposed to love one loser unconditionally, no matter what he's doing to himself, and the other when she's not being imperious or meddlesome. The heart of this is a feel-good movie selling its affections, which are sincere, inside the packaging of a subgenre: the dry-toned observational suburban bourgeois drama, where characters wear tweed and have great bookshelves but are unable to find love and happiness ... The bright side of every such tragedy is that filmmakers are able to find a group of expensive actors for only 2 million dollars.
    Adam M Super Reviewer

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