Tuesday 18th January 2022

Smart People (15)
Directed by: Noam Murro
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Soon to be Sex and the City film star Sarah Jessica Parker stars opposite Dennis Quaid (Vantage Point), Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) and Ellen Page (Juno) in this black comedy about people who are clever but have no social skills. Quaid is the real star, giving a great performance as Lawrence Wetherhold, a surly, pompous English professor who cares little for other people's opinions and even less for his students.

Hey Parker, why the long face?
Hey Parker, why the long face?

He cares about his gifted daughter (Page) and to a lesser extent his adopted brother (Church), but he is unable to show it. He cares about getting his latest book published, although the publishers seem less than keen on his abrasive and patronising style. In short, he's not an especially likeable character.

As the film unfolds, though, we learn a lot more about Lawrence and his family. He's still grieving for his dead wife; his daughter is shaping up to be a genius but has no friends and his brother, whilst looked down on by the rest of the family for being less intelligent, seems to be the only one who is happy with his life.

Lawrence finally begins dating a doctor at the local hospital (Parker) and it's really only through her that he begins to learn what a selfish prig he is, and how to change. What I like about the execution of this film though, is that not everything smells of roses by the end and there are no miraculous personality changes.

This is a fairly low budget, not especially funny, indie film, that I can't honestly recommend seeing. Although there's not too much wrong with it as a character piece, it's fairly slow, the plot is unimaginative and there are much better examples of the genre to check out before getting round to this (Little Miss Sunshine, Juno).

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Length: 95 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 16th May 2008

Top Five Rating: 60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0% (60.0%)
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