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It's the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop. Set against this backdrop, a lonely teenager named Luke Shapiro spends his last summer before university selling marijuana throughout New York City, trading it with his unorthodox psychotherapist for treatment, while having a crush on his stepdaughter.
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
In the bar scene in the middle of the film, there is a song overdubbed. When you turn the subtitles on, the lyrics are displayed and prefaced by "Man:". However, a woman is singing. See more »
[stilted date conversation]
We respond to literary texts using precisely the same fundamental interpretive categories that authors and poets use to create them. So there's no need to posit any kind of unstable ontology, or ruptured consciousness. You following me?
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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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