Smart People - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Smart People Reviews

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November 7, 2016
Weird. Bad script, flat movie, but you won't see most of the actors act better than this. Especially Dennis Quaid; he was good/not a charming divorced father for once.
½ June 27, 2016
Dennis Quaid has a beer belly and badly needs a shave and a haircut as well as an attitude change.  He's a widowed English professor and no matter how many repeat students he gets he doesn't remember their names.  Ellen Page plays his daughter who is too caught up in the SATs or the Young Republicans to have any social graces let alone friends.  Thomas Hayden Church is Quaid's adopted brother Chuck.  He's a get rich quick guy making his living (or lack thereof) selling phone cards or helping people lose weight.  Chuck with his onesie and his quirky words of wisdom is the true star of the film and the reason I would recommend seeing this.  Be warned though.  It is certainly not a laugh a minute comedy or an action flick.  It's an often slow drama about some very unlikable people.  But it redeems itself and that's why I say watch it.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2016
Smart people are not smart at all.
½ February 6, 2016
By inveigling a malleable and mordant sense of humor, Smart People mitigates its gaunt landscape and prudent plot -- which culminates in conventional fairy tale whimsy -- because it observes a great degree of solace in humanizing its dysfunctionally pretentious characters through the brandishing of their deep-seated insecurities regarding academic reputation, intellectual prowess, and perfectionism and highlighting their glaring social ineptitude with feisty -- often defensively drivel -- sarcasm.

Smart People is a facetiously caustic romantic comedy about a pompous, self-aggrandizing English professor, named Lawrence Wetherhold, played by the delightfully surly Dennis Quade. Considering the humorously begrudging manner nearly everyone offers when forced to interact with him, it is evident many find Lawrence an insufferably self-centered and condescending man. Vanessa (Ellen Page), his rigidly self-disciplined and academically-inclined daughter -- an apparent by product of her father -- might be the only person who idolizes and respects him, not only as a father, but as a serious writer (meanwhile, publishers have mistaken the ornate style of his writing and the turgid tone of his book for deliberate satire when, in reality, he's as pretentious as they come and his writing comes without a hint of irony). Lawrence's contentious son, James (Ashton Holmes) is fundamentally different from Lawrence and his sister. He's considerably more relaxed, emotionally intelligent, and socially successful. However, he feels undervalued and neglected by his father, so he maintains a safe emotional and physical distance from the family. Chuck (Haden Church), Lawrence's capricious and unreliable adopted brother is the complete antithesis of Lawrence and he aims to influence his brother, as well as his niece, to loosen up, expand their horizons, and lead more emotionally fulfilling lives. Dr. Janet Hartigan (Sarah Jessica Parker), the ER physician who tended to Lawrence after he experienced a seizure at the University's impound lot, might just present an opportunity for Lawrence to pursue something more meaningful and gratifying than the narcissistic way of life he has grown accustomed to.

The premise is scarcely pliant and harbors little in the way of freshness. Although Smart People does feature a narrative that satisfies a lukewarm entertainment value, it saunters down the beaten path of similar, more fruitfully insightful films. Moreover, a handful of scenes were a tad unseemly because their execution appeared forced or exaggerated, which was somewhat distracting throughout the film. For example, when Lawrence is in Janet's apartment after their second "face-to-face conversation" a.k.a date, he makes the first move towards physical intimacy and the couple experience their first kiss. I'm assuming Quade meant to reveal a stroke of passion from his character, only he is unsuccessful because, at the angle this scene is shot, it actually appears as though he just started sucking on and eating her face, likely catching Parker completely off guard as she just sat there helpless to do anything. His lips had completely concealed her mouth too, so whether or not she was even kissing him back or responding at all remains a mystery. It was very awkward indeed.

[C-] -- 53%
November 13, 2015
Just enough warmth in this miserable lot of characters for a nice watch....the actors make this movie.
November 9, 2015
The Guardian didn't rate this, but I thought it might be worth checking out. It's my type of film, indie understated observations of 'normal' relationships, i.e. no murders or thrills, just everyday stuff closely observed. The four leads are all good - Sarah Jessica Parker is surprising as a single slightly plain thirtysomething. It's a little implausible in places, and obscure in others, but overall a very good watch.

I reviewed this when I last watched it: we watched it again last night having forgotten, briefly, that we'd already seen it. It's still good. This time around, the Guardian did rate it. We laughed, often.
½ August 24, 2015
So damn boring and pretentious.
½ June 7, 2015
Wow: a rare movie I have absolutely no memory of watching. I can't tell when I rated it last time but I was surprised to see I'd already watched it. I'm adding an additional half star. Maybe I've matured since last time.

I do have one same sentiment: surprisingly good despite a cast including Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid...two people who can really indicate a bad movie. Maybe because Page and Church pick up the slack. Church, though mostly the same character in all his movies, is reliably good.

I like the smart people element to this. Like when Page, the kid genius of sorts, asks the other girls what it's like to be dumb and they ask her what it's like to sit alone at lunch. It sucks, she says.

Old: Eh, better than I thought considering some of the cast, but nothing to make other people see.
½ May 17, 2015
Good cast service an unremarkable script
½ January 18, 2015
Pelicula que va a medio camino , usando los tópicos usuales , no llega a ser graciosa y por momentos llega a ser aburrida.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
A drama romance movie with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Page (Juno). The movie are quite slow with a weak story i thought. But it has few bright moments tho with good dialogues especially from Ellen but not in the same level as Juno. Its just an average movie about a smart family but with some problems in their life..
December 16, 2014
When I say the movie is saved by the actors I do not mean it is good. Rather instead of being another quirky family drama, this one can boast that its dull script and unbelievable situations (what woman puts up with that kind of shit from a man twice her age?) are made passable by great acting. That is sort of a miracle.
November 16, 2014
The problem with Smart People is that though they may all be smart they are so unlikeable that they are hard to watch.
July 4, 2014
We lasted about 45 mnutes before turning this off ..... It pulls lots of key themes from Wonder Boys but is not for smart people!
June 24, 2014
I loved it! Funny and touching. Well acted and strong characters, whatâ??s not to like?
May 24, 2014
This was okay, not great because all the characters are so unlikable and nothing much happens. Concerning a bunch of (smart) yet damaged people bumbling their way through life and love. Dennis Quaid is good as the arrogant professor taking a shot at romance with a former student (SJP)- who for once is not her Sex &The City character. Ellen Page and Thomas Haden Church have an interesting relationship and deliver most of the comedy. 5/23/14
½ February 27, 2014
Meandering, witty, intellectual, somewhat pompous but fairly interesting through-out. It's a somewhat real look at people who are so smart, they can't function socially.
February 24, 2014
An ok indy flick with a great cast and a nice enough story. Nothing groundbreaking but entertaining enough.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2014
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.
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