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I wanted to like this film because of what it implies. So called “smart people” are just like everybody else with the same problems and dramas, but that message didn’t come out as strongly as it should and it didn’t even try. Instead we get the stereotype of intellectuals being  pompous assholes coming down on “dumb” people.

Smart People stars Dennis Quaid as Lawrence Wetherhold, a literature professor that, lo and behold, is an arrogant prick. He recently lost his wife and has two kids: James, played by Ashton Holmes and Vanessa, played by Ellen Page. His adoptive brother Chuck, played by Thomas Haden Church, tries to lighten up this crazy family, but ends up messing it up even more.

 

Part of the problem with the film is the many dilemmas it tries to deal with. First you get the professor: an excentric widower, failing to publish his novel, being the head of the English department a Carnegie Mellon, and having the hots or is it falling in love? with an ex student, Janet (Sarah Jessica Parker). There are so many things going on in the background, that even the issue of Ellen Paige’s character attraction to her adoptive Uncle isn’t as scandalizing as it sounds. 

When the movie finally hits it resolution, it doesn’t feel as meaningful because it didn’t let us care about these characters. Not even Ellen Page’s witty Young Republican obsessed with SAT scores saved this movie.

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