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» Critical Culture Movie Review - Smart People

by Pacze Moj

Calling your film Smart People is like daring the critics to hate it. The puns, plays, and sarcastic takes on the title almost invite a snide, negative review. Or is it all just a provocation, a gimmick, a cynical way of selling something, much like the title of Prof. Wetherhold's book:

I read in another review that the point of Noam Murro's Smart People is to show that smart people can be just as sad and miserable as stupid people, and that specialized knowledge often leads to alienation and grouchiness. I mean, who on Earth are you going to talk to if the only thing you're interested is, say, the mating habits of the albino water buffalo? Sounds sensible enough, but if that's true, wouldn't a better title for this film be: Educated People?

As for the film itself, it's alright: less annoying than other, similar films, but also nothing special. Dennis Quaid—who, incidentally, doesn't strike me as a very smart person—is serviceable in the role of a grieving, angry professor; but, much like every other performance in the film, it's a caricature and doesn't lend itself particularly well to empathy. I can laugh at Wetherhold, but asking me to care about him is a bit much. Sarah Jessica Parker's Dr. Harrigan is more natural, but her character's flat. I neither laugh nor cry. Brother-in-law Chuck, played by Thomas Haden Church, does better but unfortunately the film ultimately isn't about him.

I also feel I have to say something about Ellen Page: she looks and acts like she suddenly materialized from the world of a Studio Ghibli picture. She's cute, like a creature.

I wish I had more to say about this film, but I don't. It's very neutral, very beige. I wouldn't actively recommend it to anyone, but I also can't think of a reason to avoid it if you ever see it on Starz late at night.

Rating: 2 out of 4

Source: criticalculture.blogspot.com

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