6.2/10
21,229
116 user 164 critic

Smart People (2008)

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

Director:

Writer:

(as Mark Jude Poirier)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Don Wadsworth ...
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Kevin James Doyle ...
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:

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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

When Lawrence is in the hospital, the bed rails move from being up to down when he is talking with Janet. See more »

Quotes

Chuck Wetherhold: It's kind of a win-win situation.
See more »

Connections

References Charlie Rose (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Q.P.D.
Written and Performed by Nuno Bettencourt
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Quirky Story with a Quirky Sense of Hope
19 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie today, the day after it opened here. And I was simply delighted. This is a fine story told with non-stop heart-tugging humor and verve. The movie captured my attention immediately, and held it from beginning to end.

The scriptwriter, Mark Jude Poirier, adapted his novel for the screen with extraordinary acumen. The ensemble of characters are just delightfully appealing. Their story is told here with humor and poignancy. Dennis Quaid as Laurence Wetherhold, Sarah Jessica Parker as Janet Hartigan, Thomas Haden Church as Chuck, Ellen Page as Vanessa, Ashton Holmes as James … all turn in wonderful performances in a perfectly matched cast.

To me the pace is perfect, and the dialog is crisp, compelling, almost flawless, with lots of funny lines.

For me, one of the most uplifting features of this movie is the way the whole ensemble of characters develops together. The strangeness of the characters as individuals, along with the convincing balance as (extended) family, reminds me of the ensemble in Running with Scissors. The quirky dysfunctionality and functionality of this family in combination are like nothing so much as the family in Running with Scissors. In any event, these are characters who together gain a renewed sense of hope … a hope that imbues this wounded band of characters with a sense of togetherness and vision that is to me very, very moving.

Another feature of this movie that I myself found especially appealing is the presence of such exquisitely composed visual scenes. These are of such delightfully crafted texture that in some ways this movie reminds me of the carefully composed scenes in Girl with a Pearl Earring and Atonement. The cinematography and beauty of scene after scene are just wonderful.

All in all, this is a fun, funny, moving portrait of a delightful band of characters. I highly recommend this movie to anyone.


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