A hate crime on the campus of a New England college puts the school's dean in a position where she has to examine her own feelings about race and prejudice, while maintaining her administration's politically correct policies.
Sarah Jessica Parker,
A 90-year-old woman, rapidly losing her memory and knowing that sooner or later her life will be over, returns to the Manitoba farmhouse she grew up in to try and make peace with her dysfunctional family.
A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother's floundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his healing touch.
Lawrence Wetherhold is miserable and misanthropic: he's a widower, a pompous professor at Carnegie Mellon, 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, who's 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? Written by
Smart People - Smart People had a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it's far better than that. Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennie Quaid) is a "holier than thou" widowed professor you unfortunately meet once in awhile. He's the sort who's deeply invested in his subject but can neither make it accessible nor allow the students any time to discuss it. He's a brilliant asshole essentially. He meets a physician in a hospital after a head injury and begins to reevaluate his life and his happiness. He has a dead-beat brother-in-law (Thomas Haden Church who steals every scene he's in), a daughter (Ellen Page) who is a young Ann Coulter in the making, and a son (Ashton Holmes) to whom he never talks.
This film is quite funny! Page and Church were definitely the stand-outs, but I appreciated Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker, two actors who I rarely ever have liked. It deals with a couple familiar rom-com problems (pregnancy, the "other woman" thing), but the film never feels overly sentimental or cliché. It's satisfying watching Quaid's character get some richly deserved socks to the stomach once in awhile, but you're with him anyway by the end. The humor is a little on the biting cold side, which goes well with my tastes, maybe not with some. Smart People overstays it's welcome a bit near the end, but a good movie overall.
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