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Film Fans: 'Smart People' saved by good performances

3 out of 4 stars

Quirky, smart aleck-y drama of "House"-like characters all displaying many levels of neediness. This movie fully explains the term "emotional intelligence" - or lack thereof - to a T. Dennis Quaid, playing Dr. Wetherhold, is a windbag absentminded English lit professor who has the E-IQ of shoe leather. Widowed and raising two college-age teenagers, Quaid meets Sarah Jessica Parker - playing a lonely Dr. Hartigan - at a hospital after his inane scene at a car impound lot. I liked the characters and how they discover their humanity within. Ellen Page's performance as nerdy, lonely and needy Vanessa Wetherhold was credible. Solid three stars.

- E. Richner, Duluth

2 out of 4 stars

"Smart People" never hits full stride. Even though the movie is slow and depressing, the acting keeps you engaged in the story. Thomas Haden Church does a great job of breaking the tedious pace, but unfortunately he is under-used. While Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid play their roles well, it is difficult to picture them as a couple. If you could get past the unlikely pairing, the story does nothing to convince you otherwise. The acting makes the film. The holes in the story leave you unsatisfied. With the cost of movies today, you just don't feel as if it was money well spent.

- Sean Ahern, Buford