Movie Review: Smart People (2008)
“Sometimes the smartest people have the most to learn”
Smart People (2008)
Director: Noam Murro
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church, Sarah Jessica Parker
Synopsis: Into the life of a widowed professor comes a new love and an unexpected visit from his adopted brother.
A title like Smart People leaves itself wide open to jokey codas featuring the word ‘dumb’ and, sadly, they wouldn’t be undeserved. Smart People, the debut feature for both director Noam Murro and writer Mark Poirier, labours under the misconception that there’s still mileage left in the old chestnut about how those immersed in the world of academia are clueless when it comes to connecting with people in the real world. Dennis Quaid (The Alamo, Pandorum) wears a beard and scruffy jacket as disagreeable university lecturer Lawrence Wetherold, whose frosty countenance begins to thaw following an encounter with former student Doctor Janet Hartigan (Sarah Jessica Parker – Striking Distance, ‘Til There Was You) which develops into an unlikely romance. Quite what Janet sees in a man who invites her to a face-to-face conversation rather than a date is a mystery that’s never satisfactorily explained; all that matters is that she must so that Wetherhold can experience that final-reel revelation we’ve all been impatiently waiting for. A decent cast struggles to make us care for largely unlikable people, but is enriched by Ellen Page (Inception, Super), hot off her breakthrough role in Juno, and independent movie go-to guy Thomas Haden Church (Killer Joe) as the layabout brother (adopted) who knows a lot more about the stuff in life that really matters than his brainy brother and precocious niece ever will.
(Reviewed 9th May 2016)