Smart People - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Smart People Reviews

Top Critic
Kevin Craft
Miami Herald
April 6, 2015
Unfortunately, Smart People has nothing original to say about its characters' dilemmas, but is content to tread waters that previous films have navigated with more humor and insight.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 18, 2008
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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
April 16, 2008
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.
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
April 16, 2008
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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David Denby
New Yorker
April 14, 2008
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.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
April 14, 2008
Good acting, nice smart script.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
April 14, 2008
[A] middling romantic comedy.
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
April 14, 2008
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.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
April 11, 2008
Smart People made me happy from start to finish.
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
April 11, 2008
Call it a 'could see' -- something you can drop in on when you have nothing better to do and emerge from feeling not at all cheated by the experience.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
April 11, 2008
Though the principals are so appealing with their smart, comical exchanges, the film's forced situations keep it from being the clever, engaging tale it aspires to be.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
April 11, 2008
Just one person saves Smart People from being completely wretched. It's the presence of Thomas Haden Church.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
April 11, 2008
As tough as Lawrence is to like, Smart People is even harder to hate, mainly because of the sharply observed script by novelist Mark Jude Poirier.
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
April 11, 2008
Nobody does steely quite like the basso-voiced Page -- her Vanessa is a sort of Young Republican version of Juno.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
April 11, 2008
When you toss this many balls in the air, several are bound to be forgotten.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
April 11, 2008
Call the cops. Oscar nominees Ellen Page and Thomas Haden Church steal Smart People right from under the noses of its ostensible stars, Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 11, 2008
In what world does Smart People exist? Clearly not the real one, though this dramedy wants to think it's filled with ironic insights about love and family.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Christy DeSmith
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 11, 2008
The film brandishes the same anti-intellectual cliché we've heard time and again: Extremely smart folks are inherently unpleasant, uptight and unhappy. 'Tis better to be a touch dumb.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
April 11, 2008
Smart People isn't so much anti-intellectual as it is hyper-ignorant of the ways in which people interact and behave.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
April 11, 2008
The thorny dialogue, the rancorous arguments, the unexplained surliness of Lawrence's son -- all that nasty stuff melts away, covering up plot weaknesses in a warm glow of nuclear-family bonhomie.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
April 11, 2008
Smart is indeed the word for Smart People, an extremely well-acted film that manages to be simultaneously funny and troubling.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Jim Emerson
Chicago Sun-Times
April 11, 2008
Parker, cast as the Life-Affirming Option, comes across as rather drab. Quaid disappears beneath his beard and into his role, yet because Lawrence is such a remote character, it's hard to care much. Page's role is pretty thin and monotonous.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
April 11, 2008
Quaid and Church are funny, but too much of this film is not half as smart as it thinks it is.
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 11, 2008
The characters are credible and sharply observed and all four actors go to town.
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
April 11, 2008
None of the characters' or the filmmakers' knowledge illuminates, deepens, or complicates this movie in a way that keeps you from thinking longingly of Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Amy Nicholson
Los Angeles CityBeat
April 11, 2008
More false than Ms. Hilton's "accidental" panty-flashings, Noam Murro's dull, meandering dramedy reduces love to a montage and mourning to Quaid's inability to ride shotgun
| Original Score: D
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Scott Von Doviak
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
April 11, 2008
The performances go a long way toward making Smart People an enjoyable, if familiar, outing.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
April 11, 2008
There's a gulf between what Smart People should be and what it actually is.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
April 10, 2008
One of those sadly dependent independent films, every bit as formulaic as any Hollywood blockbuster.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
April 10, 2008
Memo to the Miramax marketing department: You might want to think about changing that title.
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 10, 2008
The overreaching script by novelist Mark Poirier is intermittently funny. One gets the sense that Poirier was aiming for Scrabulous dialogue but his movie is barely of Boggle quality.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
April 10, 2008
It's impossible to tell whether the film's ending is happy because it's happy or because it's ending.
Top Critic
Tasha Robinson
AV Club
April 10, 2008
It's a discomfiting character study in which compelling, convincing acting and lively dialogue help mitigate the feeling that none of these people are worth spending time with.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
April 10, 2008
While Smart People, wouldn't necessarily have taken off with a different leading actor, Quaid's self-conscious characterization calls attention to the artificiality of the story's construction.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
April 10, 2008
Quaid finds what is funny and endearing and worthy in the character, and his performance holds this fine, if somewhat fragile, film together.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
April 10, 2008
First-time director Noam Murro successfully creates a world you want to spend time in, even if it's a world marred by self-absorption and missed opportunities.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
April 9, 2008
The fun of Smart People, which was written by Mark Jude Poirier and directed by Noam Murro, is seeing Quaid bite, with darkly funny and misanthropic gusto, into the acrid soul of a man whose life has curdled.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 9, 2008
Those who find comfort in competently made but overly familiar stories may enjoy what Smart People have to offer. For me, it was too thin to truly satisfy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
April 9, 2008
Novelist-turned-screenwriter Mark Poirier gives the capable, eclectic cast some real zingers to play with, but he also loads his script with some plot contrivances that are simply too hard to accept.
Top Critic
Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
April 8, 2008
It's all action, no reaction. One minute they're miserable; 90 minutes later, aww better.
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Dennis Harvey
Variety
February 1, 2008
It ends up less a dark comedy than a medium-gray one, the impact further muffled by its marinating in a tepid pool of generic soft-rock sounds.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
January 22, 2008
[Screenwriter] Poirier is a master at dialogue. His script crackles with sharp lines and he gives all his scenes a splendid comic undertow.