Smart People

As I am now apparently making a habit of lateness, you will probably have to wait until this comes out on video to see it. If you like quirky dramedies, though, it might be worth checking out when it does become available. Smart People is the story of Lawrence Wetherhold (played by Dennis Quaid), who is an intelligent but extremely arrogant and self-absorbed literature professor. His relatively dysfunctional family consists of a daughter (played by Ellen Page), a son (Ashton Holmes), and a "loser" brother (Thomas Haden Church). After Lawrence throws his back out, his brother moves in, ostensibly to serve as Lawrence's chauffeur (since he has lost his license), but more obviously to mooch. There's also a romantic element as Lawrence, a widower, tries to start dating again. It's not particularly new ground as indie films go but it's pretty well done. Dennis Quaid is usually good and this is no exception, and Thomas Haden Church managed to come off as a little pathetic while still endearing and down-to-earth. Church was also the main comic relief and he was effective in that capacity--I laughed out loud quite a few times. As for Ellen Page, well, it was interesting to see her after her Juno fame (though it bears pointing out that Smart People was filmed before Juno) but I think that her acting is a little one-note. She didn't come off as exactly the same character as Juno, but given that the character as written was completely different, it's telling that there were any similarities at all. Still, even though this one probably won't win her any awards, her performance was decent and fit the movie fairly well. All in all, I quite enjoyed this movie, so if your taste is anything like mine, keep your eye out for it at the video store.

Viewed: 4/10/2008 | Released: 4/10/2008 | Score: B+

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