Smart People

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Released 2008

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Movie Summary

Director:
Unknown
Released:
2008
Rating:
R

Smart People follows the dysfunctional family dynamics of Professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) and his children James (Ashton Holmes) and Vanessa (Ellen Page). Since his wife's death a few years earlier, Lawrence has become bitter and increasingly self-absorbed, alienating himself from his son and turning his overachieving daughter into his clone. Their uneasy existence is disturbed when Lawrence's adopted brother Chuck (Thomas Haden Church) shows up at the house looking for a place to stay. After a seizure, Lawrence learns he won't be able to drive for six months, and Chuck offers to stay around to drive him in exchange for a place to stay. Then, Lawrence meets a former student, Dr. Janet Hartigan (Sarah Jessica Parker), who decides to act on her old student crush. Vanessa is openly rude to Janet, and Lawrence's growing neediness makes her rethink her involvement with the family. Lawrence finds his considerable intelligence isn't enough to reconcile his relationship with his children, brother and Janet. Noam Murro directs the 2008 comedic drama, which is the screenwriting debut of Mark Poirier.

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Metacritic Score

  • 70

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    The great virtue of Smart People, attributable to Noam Murro's easygoing direction as well as to Mr. Poirier's wandering screenplay, lies in its general preference for small insigh...

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Carina Chocano

    It's the kind of observational comedy, that'll be hard to find come summertime and should be enjoyed while there's still a chance.

  • 60

    Variety Dennis Harvey

    Dysfunctional family seriocomedy is well cast, but characters and conflicts lack the sharper definition of similar recent exercises like "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Upside of Ange...

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    Categories

    Comedy, Drama

    Themes

    Dark Comedy, Independent, Love & Romance