If you are going to call your film Smart People then you better damn well make sure that you have made yourself one pretty damn smart movie. Not just a slightly witty movie - which at times this is. Not a moderately wry movie - which interspersely it may very well be. No, your movie better damn well be as smart as smart can be - which Noam Murro's film is certainly not. If not, then even a mediocre movie - which this most certainly is - will invariably be put through the proverbial ringer by anyone with an IQ over the average median of 100.
All that said, perhaps Murro should have titled his film about the pretentious and the precocious, something more along the lines of Not Entirely Stupid People or maybe Occasionally Witty, But Not That Often People or So-So People with Delusions of Grandeur or perhaps The Wannabe People or Snarky People or maybe Pharisaically Pompous yet Pointedly Pedestrian People Posing as PhD Pandering Poopy Heads or just plain old Smug People. Anything but Smart People.
Okay, perhaps I am being a bit hard on a film that really isn't all that bad (although it is not all that good either) but c'mon, the title was just baiting me - daring me even - to call it out. He asked for it damn it! Rightfully hard or not, there is some good in here somewhere. A little bit at least. Even though the writing is far from "smart" - although it pretends to be - and the direction is about as interesting and artistic as the film is smart, overall, the cast isn't half bad. Sure, Sarah Jessica Parker should stick to her usual fluff-filled world of Manolo Blahnik adorations and acting as beard for her husband, and Dennis Quaid, one of the more underrated actors working today, looks as if he has never been more bored with a role, and Ellen Page, a talented actress in her own right, needs to lay off the ever-so-cliche'd cutsie-pie jaded teen thing for a while and dig her teeth back into more meatier roles like the all-but-forgotten Hard Candy, Mouth to Mouth and The Tracey Fragments, and Thomas Haden Church is, well, Thomas Haden Church, but they do all have some enjoyably wry (if not outright witty) moments throughout. How 'bout we just call it Smartish People and leave it at that. [04/22/08]