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Smart People


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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: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 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: B0019XZDZO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,010 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Smart People" on IMDb

Special Features

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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

A tender, funny movie that is well acted.
L. Johnson
The film becomes an analysis of characters and character development rather than a development of plot, so much so that at times you may feel uninterested.
Eric M. Milillo
Smart People is a movie about smart people making not so smart life choices.
canopy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on September 28, 2008
Format: DVD
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 By C. CRADDOCK VINE VOICE on February 21, 2009
Format: DVD
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 By "Rocky Raccoon" VINE VOICE on August 15, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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