Smart People

2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
Bearing a ‘From the Producer of “Sideways’’’ poster credit on its back, Noam Murro’s haughty, self-consciously erudite, Sundance-stained comedy shows there are few more annoying traits in cinema than clever people done badly. Dennis Quaid struggles to convince as a Midwestern professor out to bag a publishing deal for his swollen tome of confrontational critical theory. His vacant emotional incubus of a daughter, Ellen Page has to secure a place at an Ivy League university while fending off Sarah Jessica Parker’s amorous advances towards her emotionally crippled pops.

Though the film makes the all-too-hamfisted point that book smarts and people smarts are different kettles of oily fish, you don’t for one minute believe – as you do with ‘Sideways’ and ‘The Squid and the Whale’ – that any of these characters demonstrate genuine intelligence beyond smug eyebrow raising, pointless rhetorical quips and nasty grammar fascism. And it’s slathered in an awful soundtrack of coffee-table acoustica that makes Sheryl Crow sound as heavy as Motörhead.

By: David Jenkins



Release details

Release date:
Friday May 16 2008
95 mins

Cast and crew

Noam Murro
Mark Poirier
Dennis Quaid
Sarah Jessica Parker
Thomas Haden Church
Ellen Page
Ashton Holmes
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