Smart People [Blu-ray]
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Apparently there is a new formula in small-budget, independent comedies. What do you add to a pretentious lead character to create comedy? Thomas Hayden Church. It worked in Sideways, and it worked again here. He is the down-on-his-luck brother who weasles his way in to free room and board. While staying with his brother and niece he shakes them out of old habits and tries to implore them to take control and live their lives free from societal pressures to be something they do not want to be. Sounds heavy, but it wasn't that bad.
This was Ellen Page's big follow-up to Juno. I don't think this was what people were hoping for. As the professor's daughter she brought all of the attitude of Juno with none of the charm.
Dennis Quaid is our nutty professor, our single father. I like Mr. Quaid. I think that his often-exasperated mannerisms are enjoyable, almost Jack Nicholson-esque at times. I find comfort in his schtick, I guess. He was sometimes frustrating, but otherwise good yet again.
Smart People could have been called "Boring People and the Brother," but that is probably less marketable. This is an okay movie with a good cast. And the overall feel of the movie was saved by Thomas Hayden Church. I don't want to give him a reputation he cannot live up to, but the small resurgence in his career has been worthwhile for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely one of my favorite movies of all time. A lot of great stars in it and makes you happy and sad.Published 4 months ago by Stinky Fingers
Funny, but not a movie for the average Joe. I don't think most people would get it.Published 9 months ago by Sara A. Rice
Very smart movie with characters drawn in detail, great dialogue, and an ironic sense. Ellen Page has great timing and is pretty darn cute.Published 13 months ago by Stephen Lange
Shows Quaid's acting ability, really good story. I can't quite empathize with Quaid's character since I enjoy teaching, but I can see his frustration and feel it. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Obiwanky
Great ensemble cast Denis Quaid should play more frumpy professor types that are self absorbed. It is a quirky love story. Would be nice to see a sequel.Published 19 months ago by Alice Cahalan
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