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Arts & Life

'Smart People'

Prof. Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) and his former student Janet (Sarah Jessica Parker) have a budding, albeit unlikely, romance in Smart People. Bruce Bermelin/Courtesy of Miramax Films hide caption

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Bruce Bermelin/Courtesy of Miramax Films

Prof. Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) and his former student Janet (Sarah Jessica Parker) have a budding, albeit unlikely, romance in Smart People.

Bruce Bermelin/Courtesy of Miramax Films
  • Director: Noam Murro
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

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The folks on screen don't seem all that smart in Smart People — and the folks behind the camera couldn't possibly be, or their dysfunctional-romance dramedy would play more persuasively.

The story involves a widowed English Lit prof (Dennis Quaid) and a former student (Sarah Jessica Parker) who's evidently carried a torch for him all the way through medical school, though you'd never guess from their tepid onscreen chemistry. Quaid's character is bored, miserable and contemptuous of everyone, from his current students to his Young Republican daughter (Ellen Page) and his belligerently charming ne'er-do-well of a brother (Thomas Haden Church).

Why any of them would put up with him for more than 10 minutes is anyone's guess; certainly audiences seem unlikely to bother.