“Smart People” Not Heart People

Genres: Comedy and Drama
Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.
Release Date: April 11th, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R for language, brief teen drug and alcohol use and for some sexuality.
Distributors: Miramax Films

Directed by: Noam Murro
JJ Rating: B

He cannot remember the names of his students. Professor Lawrence Waterhole (Dennis Quaid) has a bland teaching life that goes hand in hand with his family life until he has an accident that makes him have to rely on his adoptive moocher brother (Thomas Haden Church). He then ends up meeting (again) Janet (Sara Jessica Parker), his doctor, and falls for her. His daughter has a biting tongue that leaves scars (Ellen Page) and her brother who doesn’t trust him (Ashton Holmes). It’s just a bunch of Smart People.

It’s good to note that this movie was created before Juno. That way one doesn’t try to compare a movie that she did AFTERWARDS, of course that won’t keep people from doing that, so what a waste of time I bothered in mentioning it.

What I expected was a movie that had wit and heart. I got the wit part and almost, almost got the heart part. I think it was a little bit wooden in the heart area. It did not have the feeling that I was expecting from this movie. It tried to the whole subtle heart thing where you see the changes but there really isn’t a blunt telling of them. Nothing that said that it for sure happened. It was more of a showing, which is a good thing when it works. I just don’t think it worked.

Smart People had its amusing parts. Recurring character that has a minor role. That’s amusing. You see him as an extra and then his bit is over once the scene is over, but he returns in another scene and makes it funny. That was a great use of character repetition. I have no problems with the slow manner of the movie or the dry wit that littered the film. I really like that kind of thing. That was a major plus for me when I was watching it. It’s amazing how many people would be offended by such talk if it happened off screen, like Dr. House-speak. It amuses me to think of those things.

The situations that happen in the film are amusing. Getting the daughter to the hospital to visit her dad while she’s trying to study for the SATs is funny. An old man jumping over a fence to get something out of his impounded car is funny. Drunk daughter hitting on someone that she just shouldn’t hit on, is also funny. There were lots of amusing scenes.

I like Dennis Quaid and in this movie he does a fine job of being the moping boring person who doesn’t realize how boring and bland he really is being. Thomas Haden Church does a good job in his role. He has to have awkward moments and those are some of the best parts of the film and he handles them great. Ellen Page is just evil. She has such nasty things to say that just tear through those that are the target, so much so that there’s nothing left after she’s done speaking. Ashton Holmes was just there. He has great scenes when he’s battling Page like at dinner and such. Sarah Jessica Parker is great. I just like the way she handles herself in the film. Especially that scene where she takes Quaid home and was expecting something when he ran back. It was that look she gave of shock that just made her great for the role. She didn’t have to say anything, all the lines of were right there on her face.

Lines as in words not old age, I think Sarah Jessica Parker is hot--for the record.

Smart People is not a movie for everyone. It might bore some because it is slow in its pacing. If you like Juno you might not like this film, it’s not as fast pace and it doesn’t have as much heart at the end as Juno did. I know I said not to compare but this is for those that are expecting that. If you laughed during the trailer you most likely will like the film. I laughed and I liked it for the most part. Smart People had moments that were smart and moments that just needed heart.

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