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Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 76 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Professor Lawrence Wetherhold might be imperiously brilliant, but when it comes to solving the conundrums of love and family, he's as downright flummoxed as the next guy. His teenage daughter is an acid-tongued overachiever who follows all too closely in dad's misery-loving footsteps, andProfessor Lawrence Wetherhold might be imperiously brilliant, but when it comes to solving the conundrums of love and family, he's as downright flummoxed as the next guy. His teenage daughter is an acid-tongued overachiever who follows all too closely in dad's misery-loving footsteps, and his adopted, preposterously ne'er-do-well brother has perfected the art of freeloading. A widower who can't seem to find passion in anything anymore, not even the Victorian literature in which he's an expert, Lawrence seems to be sleepwalking through a very stunted middle age. When his brother shows up unexpectedly for an extended stay just as he accidentally encounters a former student, Janet, the circumstances stir him from his deep freeze, with often comical, sometimes heartbreaking consequences for himself and everyone around him. (Miramax) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    A sharp, superbly acted character-driven comedic drama.
  2. 70
    The great virtue of Smart People, attributable to Noam Murro’s easygoing direction as well as to Mr. Poirier’s wandering screenplay, lies in its general preference for small insights over grand revelations.
  3. 70
    Poirer and director Noam Murro have trouble bringing this to a satisfying climax, but the characters are credible and sharply observed and all four actors go to town.
  4. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    60
    As tough as Lawrence is to like, Smart People is even harder to hate, mainly because of the sharply observed script by novelist Mark Jude Poirier. Just when you're losing patience with the movie, it sneaks up on you with a poignant detail or a character-defining turn of phrase.
  5. 50
    Mostly, Smart People is a failure of imagination.
  6. The movie gets bogged down in the formula conventions of romantic comedy, and in the process, it loses all honesty.
  7. Reviewed by: Ryan Stewart
    38
    Dennis Quaid is mostly lost at sea as Lawrence Wetherhold, the Carnegie Mellon lit professor; he apparently saw fit to tinker with his performance as filming went along, greeting us in some scenes as a noticeably swishy highbrow, while at other moments he's channeling the smiling, drunken menace of Nicholson's Jack Torrance.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 29
  2. Negative: 9 out of 29
  1. MickyJ.
    Jul 8, 2008
    10
    Loved it. Because of the cast and maybe the marketing, people were expecting something other than the intelligent, thoughtful, and intimate Loved it. Because of the cast and maybe the marketing, people were expecting something other than the intelligent, thoughtful, and intimate dark comedy that this is. Amazing performances from all the leads, sharp writing, and top-notch directing make this one of the best films of 2008. Expand
  2. JohnA.
    Apr 11, 2008
    10
    It feels to me that it's been awhile since there has been a really intelligent comedy/drama at the theatres. I really thought this was It feels to me that it's been awhile since there has been a really intelligent comedy/drama at the theatres. I really thought this was well cast. Expand
  3. CraigA.
    Sep 2, 2008
    8
    Coming of middle-age drama about a university professor who begins the film as an overgrown infant and ends it as every student's Coming of middle-age drama about a university professor who begins the film as an overgrown infant and ends it as every student's favorite lecturer. Expand
  4. PatrickD
    Mar 26, 2009
    5
    The problem with the movie is that it is uninspired. It's not terrible in any aspect. The acting is credible, the direction is okay, but The problem with the movie is that it is uninspired. It's not terrible in any aspect. The acting is credible, the direction is okay, but it lacks any heart. The worst sin of the movie is that it's boring. Expand
  5. TonyB.
    Dec 19, 2008
    4
    Ellen Page and Thomas Haden Church are the only reasons to see this one. Sara Jessica Parker is adequate in a poorly written role, but Dennis Ellen Page and Thomas Haden Church are the only reasons to see this one. Sara Jessica Parker is adequate in a poorly written role, but Dennis Quaid is not even that. Collapse
  6. Mark
    May 12, 2009
    3
    Interesting story that was poorly written. Cliche and attempted to be deep -- weak.
  7. JeffC.
    Aug 12, 2008
    1
    The WORST rental I have endured in a while.... Embarrassing for everyone involved. I had high hopes coming from the SIDEWAYS crew... but this The WORST rental I have endured in a while.... Embarrassing for everyone involved. I had high hopes coming from the SIDEWAYS crew... but this was a stinker. A series of "we have to talk" moments stuck together with a soundtrack that tried to bring some kind of drama that the script couldn't. Character driven? .... into the ditch. Expand

See all 29 User Reviews

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