Smart People

April 11th, 2008


Smart People

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Still of Sarah Jessica Parker in Smart PeopleStill of Sarah Jessica Parker in Smart PeopleAshton Holmes at event of Smart PeopleSmart PeopleStill of Dennis Quaid in Smart PeopleStill of Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid in Smart People

Into the life of a widowed professor comes a new love and an unexpected visit from his adopted brother.

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 6.2/10 (15,599 voted)

Critic's Score: 57/100

Director: Noam Murro

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church, Sarah Jessica Parker

Lawrence Wetherhold is miserable and misanthropic: he's a widower, a pompous professor at Carnegie Mellon, an indifferent father to a college student and a high-school senior, and the reluctant brother of a ne'er-do-well who's come to town. A seizure and a fall send Lawrence to the emergency room where the physician, a former student of his, ends up going on a date with him. His daughter, Vanessa, lonely and friendless, who's been bonding with his brother, tries to sabotage dad and the doctor's relationship, but Lawrence is good at that without help. Is there any way these smart people can get a life? Can happiness be pursued beneath layers of irony?

Dennis Quaid - Lawrence Wetherhold
Sarah Jessica Parker - Janet Hartigan
Thomas Haden Church - Chuck Wetherhold
Ellen Page - Vanessa Wetherhold
Ashton Holmes - James Wetherhold
Christine Lahti - Nancy
Camille Mana - Missy
David Denman - William
Don Wadsworth - Hadley
Robert Haley - Roth
Patrick Sebes - Curtis
Kevin James Doyle - Rodney
Paul Huber - Ben (as Paul J. Huber)
Iva Jean Saraceni - Volunteer
Richard John Walters - Parking Lot Attendant

Taglines: Sometimes the smartest people have the most to learn


Official Website: BV Entertainment - DVD and Blu-ray Disc | Miramax [United States] |

Release Date: 11 April 2008

Filming Locations: Allegheny General Hospital - 320 East North Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Opening Weekend: $4,092,465 (USA) (13 April 2008) (1106 Screens)

Gross: $9,496,882 (USA) (1 June 2008)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Rachel Weisz was originally cast opposite Dennis Quaid in this film, but she decided to leave the project. She was then replaced with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Continuity: When Lawrence and Janet are in bed he asks her a question and she moves her arm above her head. The shot switches and while she's answering her arm is down at her side. After she answers she again lifts it up.

Vanessa Wetherhold: [stressed] I'm in an after-school special.

User Review

It was a gamble, but good film!

Rating: 7/10

Smart People - Smart People had a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it's far better than that. Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennie Quaid) is a "holier than thou" widowed professor you unfortunately meet once in awhile. He's the sort who's deeply invested in his subject but can neither make it accessible nor allow the students any time to discuss it. He's a brilliant asshole essentially. He meets a physician in a hospital after a head injury and begins to reevaluate his life and his happiness. He has a dead-beat brother-in-law (Thomas Haden Church who steals every scene he's in), a daughter (Ellen Page) who is a young Ann Coulter in the making, and a son (Ashton Holmes) to whom he never talks.

This film is quite funny! Page and Church were definitely the stand-outs, but I appreciated Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker, two actors who I rarely ever have liked. It deals with a couple familiar rom-com problems (pregnancy, the "other woman" thing), but the film never feels overly sentimental or cliché. It's satisfying watching Quaid's character get some richly deserved socks to the stomach once in awhile, but you're with him anyway by the end. The humor is a little on the biting cold side, which goes well with my tastes, maybe not with some. Smart People overstays it's welcome a bit near the end, but a good movie overall.



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