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_ Smart People _

Title: Smart People

For a film titled “Smart People” this movie isn’t very intelligent. In fact it borderlines on idiotic. I think it wanted to be some sort of artsy, intellectual look at family dysfunction from an academic level. Instead it was a poorly written rambling full of Swiss cheese characters, horrible casting and plot lines that go nowhere.

The main calamity of Smart People is Dennis Quaid. Seeing him try and pull off the pompous Lit Professor was almost laughable. He tried to be Renaissance in his mannerisms but ended up looking like a doofus. I like Quaid as an actor but this was so out of his realm. It was painful to watch. He certainly isn’t smart.

Ellen Page plays his daughter. A 16 year old who is overly concerned about her grades, politics and social structures. She is trying to compensate for her mothers untimely death by holding the family together. I think. None of the characters in this film made any sense. It was like they were all bi-polar and from one scene to the next you would get someone completely different. Without any sort of reason or development as to why they were doing what they were doing. That’s not smart.

Sarah Jessica Parker is the most hard to understand character in the whole film. She starts out looking for sex in the city and we never know what motivates her or causes her to do what she does. So she isn’t smart.

The only really smart character is Thomas Hayden Church who plays Quaid’s adopted brother. A freeloader who goes from one job to the next and has no sort of grounding in life. His character is the only one worth watching and following in the whole film. But again, you get these little bits of tones to why he is doing what he is doing and it never goes anywhere. All the characters just skim over the surface.

Smart People is Rated R for Language, Brief Teen Drug and Alcohol Use, and for some sexuality. It should be rated R for ridiculous. I give this 1 out of 5 dunce caps. The sad part is that this movie was filmed BEFORE Juno yet people will think that this is the next step in Ellen Page’s career instead of a bad career choice.

If you want to see a film that does what this one wanted to do, rent Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas and Frances McDormand. It excels in all the places this one does not.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)(4/11/08)

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and co-hosts a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy. For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

Review copyright 2008 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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