Monday, July 21, 2008

Review - Smart People

A widowed and distraught professor, Lawrence Wetherhold, has an unexpected accident and suffers a concussion. His doctor restricts his driver's license and he is stuck having to ask for help from his foolish and adopted brother, Chuck. Professor Wetherhold develops an unseen love realtionship with his E.R. doctor and his sharp-witted republican daughter Vanessa, has a hard time coping with her father dating again.

This dramedy directed by Noam Murro seems to have taken what had worked previously for the actors cast and wrote a script around their characters. Ellen Page plays a quick-tongued and sarcastic young repblican, who seems to be the same character as 'Juno', just with different political affiliation! Thomas Haden Church also feels way to similar to his role in 'Sideways' and the unreliable adopted brother. Sarah Jessica Parker, as the E.R. doctor who once had a school-girl crush on Professor Wetherhold as her instructor, is charming in the short film, but feels very reminscent of her character in 'The Family Stone'. Dennis Quaid is the only character that feels fresh, as the brow-beating professor who is in everyway consumed in himself and dealing with his wife's death.

The relationships throughout Smart people are what ultimatley make the film likable and endeering. Dennis Quaid's relationship with his adopted brother Thomas Hayden Church is very funny and they play complete opposites very well. Ellen Page's relationships throughout the film are a little straining, but her development with her uncle does have some great moments. The two of them share some really strong moments on screen and make for some of the best heart in Smart People. Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid's relationship is sweet and charming, but ultimately feels been there done that, in the end. Quaid's relationship with all of the charcaters is the best aspect of the film. Watching him come to the realization that he is a bitter man and unliked for the most part. It allows Quaid's character to have some great intraspect on his persona and some real soul searching that made the overall film more likable.

Smart People is a good film that has a lot of heart and laughs, however it is overall forgetable because the roles are so reminiscent of previous performances. At it's core, Smart People is a dysfuctional family relationship film that has an endeering love story thrown in. The first two acts are strong, but the final act of Smart People is so formulaic that it quickly fades from your memory. This one is definately worth a watch, but I don't think it is worth a part in your dvd collection. Smart People is charming and humorous, but overall too generic to stick.