Monday, 3 January 2011

Smart People

Year: 2008
Director: Noam Murro
Screenplay: Mark Poirier
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Page, Ashton Holmes
Running Time: 95 minutes
Genre: Comedy, drama, romance

Summary: Professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Quaid) teaches English at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is always bitter, angry and rude and disliked by both his students and colleagues. He has also never got over his dead wife and is unable to get along with either of his two children. Following an accident, he winds up in hospital where he falls for his doctor, Janet Hartigan (Parker), who happens to be a former student of his, although he does not remember her. Lawrence's lazy, irresponsible adopted brother Chuck (Church) comes to borrow money and winds up staying, despite Lawrence's reluctance, to help Lawrence's lonely, uptight, over-achieving, intellectual seventeen year old daughter Vanessa (Page), learn to relax and unwind.

Opinion: The main point behind this film is that some people may have all the academic and intellectual qualifications but be completely clueless in their dealings with other people, which is hardly an original observation. In many ways the film is reminiscent of the film Wonder Boys (2000) which has a similar academic backdrop, as well as Sideways (2004) in which Thomas Haden Church plays a similarly feckless character. This isn't a great film but it is not bad either. The story is involving enough and the characters interesting enough to keep it watchable, and it is also quite funny. The cast all do well, especially Thomas Haden Church and Ellen Page who has a gift for making initially unlikeable characters both sympathetic and engaging.
Many people may find the charcaters unsympathetic, and difficult to relate to, also, despite being funny in places, it is hardly a laugh riot.
Personally I found it an engaging and enjoyable little film.

Thomas Haden Church and Ellen Page in Smart People

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