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Smart People (2008)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  11 April 2008 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 20,217 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 114 user | 166 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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

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(as Mark Jude Poirier)
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Title: Smart People (2008)

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Sometimes the smartest people have the most to learn

Genres:

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

11 April 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una familia genial  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$9,496,882 (USA) (30 May 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

In the exterior New York hotel shots, which were actually shot in Pittsburgh, the taxi used is clearly a City of Pittsburgh cab, used as such in other parts of the movie, not a New York City taxi as suggested by the movie's story. Pittsburgh Cab Company checkers, logo and phone number are all visible on the side of the cab. The cab is also missing the NYC medallion, the medallion number on the roof, and the sub-letter on its license plate, all characteristics of New York City taxis. See more »

Quotes

Chuck Wetherhold: [to Vanessa] You're a monster!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #18.86 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

If Only
Written and Performed by Nuno Bettencourt
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Familiar, but well done dramedy featuring some stellar performances
13 April 2008 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

An indie comedy about a quirky family of self-hating misfits. We've seen this before, am I right? Well, so what, I say. When it's done well, I don't care too much whether the concept has been done before. And Smart People is done quite well. Dennis Quaid stars as a college professor and widower who hasn't been out with a woman since his wife died an unspecified (but long) amount of time ago. He lives alone with his daughter (Ellen Page). He has a son who goes to the same college at which he teaches and an adopted brother (Thomas Haden Church) who likes to mooch off of him. After an accident, Church moves in with Quaid and Page. Quaid also meets a former student (Sarah Jessica Parker), now a doctor, who had a crush on him. They start to date. The plot isn't anything special, but the dialogue is witty and the relationships are well observed. And this is also a case of fine actors who make something merely serviceable into something special. Quaid has never been better. My feeling about his work as an actor is that he is very uneven. He can be excellent, such as in The Right Stuff, but usually he's adequate, and often, perhaps too often, he's awful. But this is definitely one of the excellent performances. Church has kind of a sitcommy role, but that's fitting for an actor who was really good in sitcoms. He's hilarious here, too. A lot of the time, I was thinking of the movie as somewhat akin to a sitcom, but a good sitcom. There have been such things, you know. Page, fresh off her star-making turn as Juno (though Smart People was filmed earlier), is an actress I've liked in a couple of movies I disliked (Juno and Hard Candy). Finally, a movie with her that I actually like! Feels good. And she's great in it. The character is similar to Juno, but not quite so despicably precious. I like how the writer and director invite the audience to dislike all four of the major characters, at least a bit. They are recognizable people, which is, unfortunately, a rarity in movies. I liked the movie, and recommend it.


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