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Smart People Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… awful people you have listen to for two hours. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Though it features witty dialogue and good performances, the plot contrivances keep it from being an altogether winning enterprise.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The main problem with Smart People is that it never breaks new ground. This is territory we have seen tilled to better effect by more perceptive motion pictures.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    A good deal of the freshness comes from a grand, clownish slob played by Thomas Haden Church -- he's actually the smartest person of the piece -- while Dennis Quaid occupies the center with a mastery that's all the more notable for its humanity.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Poirier is a master at dialogue. His script crackles with sharp lines and he gives all his scenes a splendid comic undertow.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Smart People, unlike "Sideways" or "The Savages," has a plot that's a little too rote.

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  • See all Smart People reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Intelligent, mature film with some shortcomings.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film -- which co-stars Ellen Page, who'll no doubt attract a fair share of young Juno fans -- is more dramatic than comic, tackling heavy themes like grief and parental indifference. There's also an iffy sexual interaction -- and it's clearly played out as such -- and a surprise pregnancy (though unlike Juno, it's not the central plot line). Both grown-ups and teens discuss sexual matters candidly, and there's some swearing (including "f--k"), a fair amount of drinking (an adult buys drinks for a minor), and teen drug use (again, instigated by an adult).

  • Families can talk about the characters' complicated relationships. Do they seem realistic? Why can't Lawrence connect with anyone? What drives him to change? Is the change believable? Are he and Janet a good couple? What about Vanessa? Why does she take on all that she does? Families can also discuss how this movie is similar to and different from other Hollywood films.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: A father practically neglects his children and relegates adult responsibilities to his teen daughter, who's eager to please but is desperately lonely and disconnected from him and on the verge of becoming a bitter person. A couple finds it difficult to connect, and the woman lies to finesse an awkward situation. An uncle, in an attempt to help a young relative, introduces her to drugs and alcohol.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Nothing more than yelling and arguing.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Frank discussion about how condoms feel after a couple has sex (they're shown in bed, presumably naked, though they're under a blanket). Some kissing and groping (in bars and during dates), and some lascivious comments. A man's naked backside is flashed a few times, presumably for comic effect.

  • language false3

    Language: Runs the gamut from low-level insults like "moron" to curse words like "s--t" and "f--k."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Carnegie Mellon is practically a character in the film; a Wellesley College sweatshirt is a high-visibility prop; close-up shot of Marlboro Lights. Signage for the Omni Hotel, Saab, etc. Mention of Penguin Books.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some drinking and drug use (mostly marijuana) by grown-ups, teens, and young adults. Lots of drinking at restaurants and pubs (social situations) and alone (times of despair and oblivion). A character smokes cigarettes.