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Smart People [Blu-ray] (2008)

Dennis Quaid , Thomas Haden Church , Noam Murro  |  R |  Blu-ray
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page, Ashton Holmes
  • Directors: Noam Murro
  • Writers: Mark Poirier
  • Producers: Bill Block, Bridget Johnson, Bruna Papandrea, Claus Clausen, Deborah Aquila
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: August 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0019XZE08
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,306 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Smart People [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Driven by a clever script and fine performances, SMART PEOPLE is set in the land of academia, a place where both Lawrence and Vanessa have taken refuge and plunged themselves into as escape from the external world. In spite of their high IQs, both father and daughter are equally clueless when it comes to navigating relationships. This becomes obvious as Vanessa develops a line-blurring relationship with her uncle, and Lawrence stumbles in romancing his doctor. If Vanessa wants a shot at happiness and Lawrence wants to make things work in his love life, both will have to adopt new attitudes or risk further alienation. Starring Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page, and Thomas Hayden Church.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart people aren't always September 28, 2008
Dennis Quaid plays an English professor so pompous and self-contained that the unpleasant odor of mothballs must emanate off that tweed jacket he wears. Stuck. Stuck in a past when his wife died and he became a widower. Stuck in a career where he allows no growth for himself. Smart people.

His daughter, a pompous and bombastic smart person, is a brainiac headed to Stanford. Her uncle pretty much defines her as a robotic android. The uncle and adopted brother comes into the story early on. A n'e'r-do-well who enjoys muddling through life, he, too, is one of the "smart people." He uses his intelligence to become the an unintentional nudge for change for the daughter.

Then there's the son, now a student at the same college where his dad doggedly teaches. Dr. Wetherhold most likely uses the same notes prepared the first time he delivered the lecture. Words just billow from him like smoke and not living things to be savored with others--his students. He holds their essays in as much disdain. During the course of the story he positions himself to be named the head of the English department.

The pivotal point of the story is the doctor who treats Lawrence in the emergency room and grounds him from driving for six months (actually in retaliation for a C he assigned one of her essays written ten years earlier when she was his student and originally an English major.)

They go out to eat. After he delivers a 45-minute soliloquy about Victorian literature, she interrupts to tell him what a stuffed windbag he is and leaves.

All these people live in a grim reality of unrequited happiness, acceptance of the status quo, and inertia to change anything. Little by little, life intercedes. There's a miracle that changes everything.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But, how do you know what tone I was trying to set? February 21, 2009
Smart People is a great dramedy--a mixture of comedy and drama. It goes for the Smart Laugh, not the Big Laugh. Mark Poirier, the son of a MIT professor, wrote a Smart script, and Smart Director Noam Murro very smartly cast some of the smartest actors around: Ellen Page, Thomas Haden Church, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Dennis Quaid. I loved it, because I am also very Smart, but it didn't do as well at the box office or with the critics (except it was the Number One DVD at Netflix for a while) as it deserved. That Smarts.

I think the problem with this movie is that like the characters, Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) and his daughter Vanessa Wetherhold (Ellen Page), it doesn't suffer fools gladly. Thus, for a large portion of the audience, it is over their heads, and they feel like it is condescending, supercilious, and they feel patronized. As Lawrence's adopted brother, Chuck Wetherhold (Thomas Haden Church) says of Vanessa: "You're a monster!"

And that is an understatement. In another scene she says to her father, "Theresa Sternbridge practically runs a soup kitchen and she's always seen posing in photos with crack babies and dying, old, crusty ladies. And do you know why? She scored in the 45th percentile on her SAT. People like you and me don't need to compensate."

Although Chuck sees that Vanessa, and her role model father, are both monsters, in spite or because of their intelligence, he still loves them and tries to help. Did I mention that Chuck is a screw up, down on his luck, and an opportunist who sees a win/win situation for himself when his brother has a seizure and cannot drive. He will have a place to stay, and 3 squares, for driving his brother around--albeit very unreliably.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent People Behaving Stupidly August 15, 2008
I have to get something off my chest: `Smart People' is an acquired taste. If you like indie films that contain absorbing characters and dysfunctional families, then you're going to get into this one. For me I've gone into a lot of intelligent films in the last year and often found something missing. Not entirely different than `Margot at the Wedding,' 'Two Days in Paris,' and `Year of the Dog,' the film's deliberations have enough flair to capture my interest. While the other films were clever, I have to admit, I personally didn't love them. Don't expect `Smart People' to be the next `Little Miss Sunshine' or `The Squid and the Whale (Special Edition)' but its quirkiness can reel one in from the onset.

Dennis Quaid stars as pedantic curmudgeon Dr. Lawrence Wetherhold, a straightforward professor at Carnegie Mellon who has difficulty remembering students' names, but has no trouble mincing words about their papers. On campus his son, Jim (Ashton Holmes) shows that even in close proximity to his father, the emotional distance between them is staggering. In an odd role reversal dad only visit's the dorm when he wants something from him.

At home daughter, Vanessa (Ellen Page) is a type-A personality student; she's gung ho to get A's and is preparing for her ACT exams with a vengeance. A Republican zealot, her character is as sassy as Juno with none of the exuberant lilt.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great arrangement.
Published 1 month ago by james e senecal
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Funny movie
Published 2 months ago by Mogx
3.0 out of 5 stars This movie is just okay - its certainly not a *5* star or *4* star...
If I had a chance I would rate it *3 & 1/2* stars, but alas Amazon doesn't let you rate a movie, its just 1,2,3,4,5 stars. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robert Pylant
3.0 out of 5 stars This movie is just fine--SPOILER!
This movie has a good cast and some sharp dialogue and situations but it doesn't hang together all that tightly. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Deb Oestreicher
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Refreshing
It's a shame that this film didn't receive the promotion it deserved. This is a charming dysfunctional family dramedy that goes beyond the normal formulaic slapstick to tears and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by T. Barnes
1.0 out of 5 stars more liberal cultural corruption
Another liberal movie about how if you don't do drugs, scoff at capitalism, have kids out of wedlock, and get drunk all the time by hanging out in bars you are a loser and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by S. T. Peterson
1.0 out of 5 stars Dumb
Dumb movie of "smart" people. Very disjointed. A waste of time watching. They showed the best parts in the trailer and out of context. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dianne Price
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart People Is Smart Choice
This was anothe dysfunctional family played by a talented ensemble cast leading to an engaging film experience. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Robert Finlan
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
This was a very entertaining movie. Dennis Quaid made for a very believable professor. I would recommend if you're in the mood for a slow comedy.
Published 14 months ago by Henry I. Paiz
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie
very sofisticated heartwarming and funny! this movie definetelly not for stupid ignorant people who loves actions and horror movies. good buy
Published 15 months ago by Grace18
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