Smart People


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Rating: R

Dennis Quaid as Lawrence Wetherhold
Sarah Jessica Parker as Janet Hartigan
Thomas Haden Church as Chuck Wetherhold
Ellen Page as Vanessa Wetherhold
Ashton Holmes as James Wetherhold
Christine Lahti as Nancy
Camille Mana as Missy Chin
David Denman as William
Don Wadsworth as Hadley
Robert Haley as Roth
Patrick Sebes as Curtis
Kevin James Doyle as Rodney
Paul Huber as Ben Onufrey

Directed by Noam Murro

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
The Smartest People – Interviews with Filmmakers and Cast
Not So Smart – Bloopers / Outtakes
Feature Commentary by Filmmaker Noam Murro and Writer Mark Jude Poirier

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 95 minutes

The following is from the official synopsis of the film:

“From the producer of ‘Sideways’ — get to know a lovable yet dysfunctional family everyone can relate to in this lighthearted comedy. When Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) — a widowed and self-absorbed professor — falls for his attractive former student (‘Sex and the City’s’ Sarah Jessica Parker), his all-too-predictable life suddenly turns sunny side up. That is until his freeloading brother (Thomas Haden Church) and his sharp-tongued overachieving daughter (‘Juno’s’ Ellen Page) speak up, making ‘chaos’ the word of the day. Now on DVD, ‘Smart People’ is even funnier with never-before-seen interviews, deleted scenes and hilarious outtakes.”

“Smart People” is rated R for language, brief teen drug and alcohol use, and for some sexuality.

“Smart People” has a great cast. Ellen Page, fresh off of “Juno,” does another good turn as an exceptionally mature teenager, this time a female version of Alex P. Keaton. Dennis Quaid transforms into an egotistical, intelligent English professor. Thomas Haden Church is his underachieving brother. They all deliver fine performances. The only problem is that none of their characters are particularly likable.

Quaid’s character is a smug professor who is rude and has a superiority complex. If you’ve been to college, you’ve probably encountered the type. It makes him rather unbearable to watch, much less root for. When he does meet Sarah Jessica Parker as Janet Hartigan, it’s a bit hard to believe that she ever had a crush on him. Their eventual romance is even harder to believe since Wetherhold is such a curmudgeon. I kept expecting to see a real shift in his character where he’d become a nice guy, but that transformation never really believably took place. It’s no surprise that Ellen Page as Vanessa Wetherhold is just as snooty, but it doesn’t make her any more endearing either. When the two leads are so unlikable for 95% of the film, it makes it kind of hard to enjoy the movie.

I’d recommend “Smart People” to fans of indie cinema, fans of Ellen Page, and fans of Dennis Quaid. This isn’t really a mainstream film, so these are the people that will probably enjoy it most.

There’s a modest selection of bonus features. You’ll find your standard offerings like deleted scenes, bloopers, a commentary, and interviews with the cast and crew.