Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with a really smart person who goes on and on to the point of tedium, revelling in their own interests without caring whether what they are on about really interests you. Well watching "Smart People" is like that, a clever movie which drones on to the point of tedium. It's not so much that what it is going on about is dull but the way it comes across is, struggling to connect with the audience as it desperately carries on doing its own thing.
Since the death of his wife Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid - American Dreamz) has become an even greater curmudgeon than he was, despising the other professors, disliking his adopted brother Chuck (Thomas Haden Church - Spider-Man 3) and not having any real relationship with either his over achieving daughter or son. But that all starts to change when he suffers a seizure because not only does it mean he isn't allow to drive for 6 months and has to rely on Chuck to chauffeur him around but he also meets formers student Janet (Sarah Jessica Parker - Failure to Launch) who treats him at hospital. Janet had a crush on him back in her college days and despite aware that he is a pompous ass still likes him, it leads to them dating and Lawrence's slow change but also leads to other problems from his daughter having no life to his relationship with his son and Chuck.
I actually like the storyline which writer Mark Poirier has come up with, it may cover some familiar ideas and border on the dysfunctional family set up but it is interesting and has well defined characters. Each of these characters have their own issues, again familiar issues but they are well written from the main one of Lawrence being a curmudgeon to his daughter Vanessa having no friends and mistaking friendship for more. And each of these characters are well acted with solid performances from Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church and Ellen Page whilst Sarah Jessica Parker delivers a perfectly restrained performance.
The trouble is that it just comes across like it is droning on like an intellectual oblivious to how boring they are. The whole thing is lacking wit to make it stop being monotonous and you just beg for a really funny, clever line to suddenly break the droning on. In fairness it also suffers from editing problems which has the effect of preventing the audience from ever getting close to these characters, caring for them and what happens to them.
What this all boils down to is that maybe those who like offbeat movies will find "Smart People" intellectually stimulating but for anyone else it will be a case of good performances but a movie which drones on thinking it is being interesting when it isn't.