English German
Quick Links

The opinions, comments and viewpoints expressed in articles are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the webmaster.

All press articles are still under copyright from the original source and provided for entertainment purposes and research only. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for your own purposes beyond the 'fair use' exception, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

» Public Arts Movie Review - Smart People

by John DeSando, WCBE’s It’s Movie Time

I know smart. My college-professor colleagues are smart, with the usual trade off of occasional neuroticism. My kids are smart, with the usual emotional distance and independence that accompany eccentricity. So Noam Murro's Smart People, about a widower professor of literature, and his brainy family initially put me off with its dysfunctional crew, but as I slowly gave myself to the cynicism and inhumanity, I realized this crazy world was one I know well, and well is it depicted in its humor and pathos.

Although Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) is tenured at Carnegie Mellon and on the brink of having a book accepted for publication, he is surly to everyone else, even his young students and his feckless adopted brother, Chuck (Thomas Haden Church), and unhappy with himself, in large part, it would seem, because of the untimely death of his talented wife that allows him to wallow unchecked in self pity. Quaid's interpretation borders on annoying, so unremittingly curmudgeonly does he play it.

Former student and head of ER at a local hospital, Dr. Janet Hartigan (Sarah Jessica Parker), has the potential to pull him out of his funk if his devoted, brilliant, and acerbic daughter Vanessa (Ellen Page) can't. Why Hartigan is attracted to him is never established, and why Parker would accept such a thankless, underdeveloped role is a mystery.

This anti-Little Miss Sunshine and close relative to Royal Tenenbaums beats all quirky family comedy/dramas for pure cynicism. However, that very dark tone throughout, even down to the somewhat contrived denouement, is the film's strength. The reality is that depressed, smart people don't immediately change; they slowly if at all join the brotherhood of man by accepting our faults, as simple as upgrading worthy student papers or asking personal questions of those students or a date.

Noah Baumbach needn't fear: Smart People is nowhere near as smart or glib as Squid and the Whale and Life Aquatic, but it brings a new dimension to the quirky family genre: honesty and gloom that translate into an enjoyable date with a dysfunctional family that's a lot like our arguably functional ones.

Source: publicbroadcasting.net

Printerfriendly version · Read 3275 times

Last Update: 02/20/2020 Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram  Tumblr  Privacy Policy GDPR  HiStats  Facebook Group Ellen Page Fans © 2006-2020 TeamEPO
news ellenpage career media interact site web fancorner profile biography quotes factsandtrivia faqs filmography demoreel awards charity otherprojects gallery videoclips audioclips messageboard fanarts fanlisting guestbook links listedat affiliates aboutepo changelog contact epofaqs legalnotice