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Smart People (2008)

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Into the life of a widowed professor comes a new love and an unexpected visit from his adopted brother.



(as Mark Jude Poirier)
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Wadsworth ...
Kevin James Doyle ...
Paul Huber ...
Ben (as Paul J. Huber)
Iva Jean Saraceni ...
Parking Lot Attendant


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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Sometimes the smartest people have the most to learn


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, brief teen drug and alcohol use, and for some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

11 April 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una familia genial  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,092,465 (USA) (11 April 2008)


$9,496,882 (USA) (30 May 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rachel Weisz was originally cast opposite Dennis Quaid in this film, but she decided to leave the project. She was then replaced with Sarah Jessica Parker. See more »


When the congratulatory card slips out of Lawrence's manuscript, it is at about a 45 degree angle from the edge of the desk (roughly from Lawrence's point of view). In the next shot, it is perpendicular to the edge of the desk. This may be more obvious when using the stack of paper next to the card as a reference. See more »


Chuck Wetherhold: These children haven't been properly parented in many years. They're practically feral. That's why I was brought in.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Ellen Page/Wilco (2008) See more »


Written and Performed by Nuno Bettencourt
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It was a gamble, but good film!
11 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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