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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 »


Professor Wetherhold would not have been able to see his car being towed from his son's dorm room. His car is parked behind the east wing of Donner Hall (the actual dorm at Carnegie Mellon where the scene was filmed). The only place in Donner Hall from which it is possible to see the car from that angle is the common area of the dorm's 'A' floor, one floor above the parking lot. See more »


James Wetherhold: Vanessa here is the perfect little housewife. I mean daughter.
Vanessa Wetherhold: Yes, if by perfect you mean not retarded, slash suffering from insurmountable credit card debt, then yes, I'm indeed perfect.
See more »


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


You Still Need Me
Written by Suze DeMarchi and Andrew Farriss
Performed by The Baby Animals
Courtesy of Candirose Pty Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

unripe and reminiscent of the excellent 'The Accidental Tourist'
28 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've just seen this film and read a number of reviews about it. Many reviewers are referencing 'Little Miss Sunshine', 'The Family Stone', etc. But I left the theatre thinking of the wonderful, beautifully balanced and developed, fun film, 'The Accidental Tourist'--another film about an emotionally deadened, difficult man who is suffering from the loss of a loved one and is 'redeemed' through love. Talk about quirky families; the one in 'Tourist' puts most of the rest to shame. The difference perhaps in the quality of these films (Tourist very high, Smart People quite low, many others in the 'genre' somewhere inbetween) lies in that The Accidental Tourist was based on the highly crafted, moving novel of the same title by the gifted writer Anne Tyler. What stands out for me again and again as I work up my courage to attend recent releases is that the quality of screenplay writing in Hollywood and elsewhere is low, low, low. Rushed, pressured, unbaked--too many films being made too fast, with scripts that bore and confuse us with unconvincing plots and thin characters. This film, Smart People, could have been--with revision and review--a much better, more engaging, moving picture. The script simply wasn't ready for production; the story isn't there.

34 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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