Wednesday, August 20, 2008

'Smart People' ...

"Smart People" is one of those family-focused movies, like "The Savages" or "The Squid and the Whale" before it, that is full of great performances that hardly anyone has seen.

Clearly, these films are made by these actors for the love of acting, not three percent of a film's back end. Nothing explodes. There are no car chases. The most central moment with a car has it locked in an impound lot. This is an anti-action movie.

But it's fully of really good performances. As the daughter of a college professor, Ellen Page mostly reprises Juno here, trading in her trademark sass for slightly more erudite one-liners, but she's still wise beyond her years and taking on more responsibility than anyone her age should. Thomas Hayden Church is underrated and underused as an actor. His performance here is reminiscent of his turn in "Sideways."

Sarah Jessica Parker actually made me forget about Carrie Bradshaw for a few moments, but Dennis Quaid should be nominated for something for his portrayal of a self-involved, depressed widower who trudges through the tedium of his days, who can't be bothered to learn the names of his students or, for that matter, teach.

Quaid is so far removed from the sly-smiled Det. Remy McSwain of "The Big Easy" in this role that he almost broke my heart.

Rent it. Movies like this are what DVD was made for.


Blogger J. Marquis said...

I loved all three of those films, especially "The Savages". Somebody asked me if it was depressing and I told them no, it's hilarious and tragic just like life.

7:38 PM  

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