Monday, August 18, 2008

Smart People: Grade C

Smart People (2008)
Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page, Thomas Haden Church; Director Noam Murro.

“Snappy Dialog” would have been a better title. This is a talking heads movie in which nothing happens except words, and they are clever. Like a sharply written sitcom, every character is full of packaged sardonic wit, but as with a sitcom, that gets tiresome after 10 minutes. Quaid is the stereotypical, burned-out, cynical English professor. Parker is his M.D., former student, and wannabe romantic interest. Page, the professor’s Young Republican daughter, plays smart-mouth Juno again. Church is the stereotypical stoner, loser brother who crashes at the professor’s house for comic interest. All the characters are flat, uninteresting stereotypes. There is no chemistry among them and it is even hard to believe that they get along as people. Colors are drab, sets are uninteresting stereotypes, directing is unexceptional. There is no plot either. A redeeming virtue is competent acting by some big stars. “From the producers of Sideways,” says the DVD box; producers who did not understand that the success of that film was characterization, not manufactured dialog jokes.


  1. I'm bummed you didn't think highly of this movie. I really wanted to see it at Sundance. At least I know I didn't miss much now, and can rent it when there's nothing else to do.

  2. I was disappointed too, Blake. But there are some good laughs. It's worth a rental. Bill