Smart People - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Smart People Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 9, 2008
Coming from a dysfunctional family I suppose I connected with this warped satirical movie. Well worth watching Ellen Page continues to shine in every movie shes in.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
December 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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 22, 2008
A sharp and sympathetic - if somewhat bleak - film with solid ensemble acting from Quaid, Page, Haden Church and Parker. I even got the sense that SJP wasn't confined to being Carrie Bradshaw this time out.

The story is a good one (especially for an ex-grad student like myself), about getting past that immature stage when you can't stand that anyone is of an intelligence lower than yours (and when you can't stop presuming that absolutely everyone is). All the "smart people" depicted are stunted in some way, and in different ways, are all stuck in their teenage years.

Flaws? Yes, a couple. The film only scratched the surface of some of the deeper issues it was trying to discuss, and I didn't really care for the soundtrack entirely by Nuno Bettencourt - but at the same time, I thought it was a highly watchable slice of life made from a pretty snappy script.
Super Reviewer
February 15, 2009
this is a vaguly amusing movie which made me chuckle in a few places but apart from that the storylne is predictable and borin in places!
its a typical story of one person who is grumpy and horrible who goes trough an event which then changes them and this movie follows it well!
A amusning movie in places but not a great movie at all!
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2010
I love family dramas, so even a pretty average one like Smart People is fairly entertaining to me. Some of the character arcs are a bit odd and not told as clearly as they should be, but overall I was satisfied with the movie.

The most important part of this kind of film is the cast, and Smart People certainly has an interesting one. Ellen Page is the reason I wanted to watch this, but Dennis Quaid and Thomas Hayden Church acquitted themselves well, too. I even thought Sarah Jessica Parker did fairly well, and I never could have pictured myself uttering that phrase before seeing this movie. Smart People doesn't tread any new territory, and it certainly has its flaws, but I enjoyed it, nonetheless.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2009
I thought this was a really great look at destructive personalities. While the characters might be funny on the screen, they are very realistic and sad. How someone can go through there life acting like they're better than everyone else is horrible. Ellen Page was priceless at being a young republican and ordering everyone around. Dennis Quaid also gave one of the best performances i've seen from him in a long time.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2008
Fantastically funny and intelligent.
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2008
A very enjoyable and utterly wonderful comedy. An intelligent, well-written and superbly performed film. Smart, witty, outstanding, engagging and hilarious. An excellent, touching and remarkable movie. A teriffic balance between comedy and drama. Every performance is pitch perfect. Dennis Quaid has never been better, a magnificent and great performance. Ellen Page is fantastic once again, winning our hearts with her charm, rebellious attitude and teriffic charisma. Thomas Haden Church is brilliant, his flair for comedy dazzels once again and you cant help but love him in this movie. Sarah Jessica Parker confirms herself as a movie star. These four actors work incrediably well together on the screen bringing lots of love and life to the characters.
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2008
thomas haden church's performance is all thats needed for this film to be recommended, but it also has a charm to it and it was very interesting. it also suffered unfortunately by incredibly underdeveloped sub plots and a rather cold ending. overall, good flick.
Super Reviewer
½ January 30, 2009
I find it quite conspicuous the way this film is most certainly not called Nice People. I don't really know how smart you can call a person who uses thier intellect primarily to belittle and alienate other people. These people are smart in the same way Calvin from the comics is smart: he will be able to explain the theory of gravitation in detail, then how he dropped a pitcher of lemonade while rollerscating. From such smarts, such stupidity. Like habitually parking illegally and acting surprised when it's towed. Only valuing one's son when a peom of his is published. I especially liked how the main character's book is only published because its condescending tone is considered a novelty. I found the frostiness with which Ellen Page greeted Sarah Jessica Parker really interesting, as it betrays her sadness about losing her mother. She keeps maintaining that her father isn't ready to date, which is a smart-person euphemism for SHE'S not ready for her father to date. As comedies go there are ones that are way funnier than this, but it rings true and therein lies its merit.
Super Reviewer
January 25, 2009
Besides the comedic styling of Lowell from Wings this movie is an unlikeable asshole fest of Pretenciousness led by Kitty Pride.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2008
"You spend 50 $ on dinner, that's grounds for intercourse. "

"Smart people" is a dialogue based indie film that has also been advertised as a comedy. Well, boring it is, for sure...

The characters are pretty dysfunctional and not that interesting. They all seem to have bigger than life problems and it's quite depressing..

Good comedy could've been made with more talented filmmakers but "Smart People" shows only at brief moments its hidden comedy.

There's basically nothing wrong with the movie but film's should be entertaining. This ain't. Good drama of deranged people, that's all.
Super Reviewer
½ April 9, 2008
Not bad - could have been better. I liked the characters in this one, but it was a very slow movie, which is even worse considering it is not very long, and I can understand why some people would have found it boring. Sarah Jessica is fine in this one, I couldn't really understand the panning she got. Ellen Page is also good, as always, but she does seem to be getting a little typecast.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2008
Slight tale with reliably good performances from Quaid, Page and Haden Church, unbalanced by Parker bringing her trademark neurotic 'Sex in the City' mode.
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2008
Where did it go?
No, seriously...where did it go and was it even trying to go anywhere?
So caught up in attempting to be "smart" it loses itself to contrivance and the trappings of having a good cast with little material.
The characters are really quite thin even though we have some fine actors to flesh them out. Ellen Page simply played a different version of "Juno" and she has so much more range than that. Thomas Hayden Church was great, but to what end? Dennis Quaid simply looked old and haggard which worked as his character was a self-proclaimed curmudgeon. Sarah Jessica Parker was...well...she was.
There could have been some interesting character development, but that was left untouched. We have some very bland hosts that attempt to entertain us with quips and tepid repartee.
Maybe I am being a little overly harsh as I really expected so much more from this movie, but it just dragged and when it ended I felt as if I hadn't moved or been moved.
Watch it for its component parts, but know that there is little to be seen here save for some talented actors doing the best with a reimagining of "The Wonder Boys" that fails in its execution.
If you can live with that this is fine fare for an evening of syrup.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2008
Lawrence Wetherhold is miserable and a misanthrope: he's a widower, a pompous professor at Carnegie Mellow, an indifferent father to a college student and a high-school senior, and the reluctant brother of a ne'er-do-well who's come to town. A seizure and a fall send Lawrence to the emergency room where the physician, a former student of his, ends up going on a date with him. His daughter, Vanessa, lonely and friendless, whose been bonding with his brother, tries to sabotage dad and the doctor's relationship, but Lawrence is good at that without help. Is there any way these smart people can get a life? Can happiness be pursued beneath layers of irony?

Not for your average movie-goer, this one. Although the situation is teed up nicely for a typical feel-good ensemble gush-fest, it resists that temptation and takes you to a place where the characters are not, although they seem to need it, ready for rehab. It has an easy, rambling style that gradually rather than gratuitously opens their world to us without (for the most part) overly relying on hackneyed situations and gimmicks (although Quaid's insistence on keeping his wifes clothing was not one of them). In fact, the situations portrayed are so dark and lo-keyed that I wondered if this movie could have been made without the ready-made typecast qualities of Quaid, Haden-Church and Parker. ...Gritty Pittsburgh backdrop in a very real academic surrounding adds to the slice-of-life tone.

Super Reviewer
½ August 18, 2008
Pretty useless really, but I laughed a few times. Ellen Page I thought could do only one character (which I hated) but pulled off a good one in this movie. The basic gest: smart people are arogant assholes. Duh.
Super Reviewer
½ April 12, 2008
Pretty decent movie but I expected a little bit more from these actors. Professor Lawrence Wetherhold might be imperiously brilliant, monumentally self-possessed and an intellectual giant--but when it comes to solving the conundrums of love and family, he's as downright flummoxed as the next guy. His teenaged daughter is an acid-tongued overachiever who follows all too closely in dad's misery-loving footsteps, and his adopted, preposterously ne'er-do-well brother has perfected the art of freeloading. A widower who can't seem to find passion in anything anymore, not even the Victorian literature in which he's an expert, it seems Lawrence is sleepwalking through a very stunted middle age. When his brother shows up unexpectedly for an extended stay at just about the same time as he accidentally encounters his former student, the circumstances cause him to stir from his deep, deep freeze, with often comical, sometimes heartbreaking, consequences for himself and everyone around him.
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