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Smart People

As expected, smart supporting characters
By MARK BAZER  |  April 9, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
Smart People

Stories about addled, self-absorbed middle-aged male professors whose lives are falling apart and — worse yet — who can’t get published don’t mean much to the rest of us. Dennis Quaid’s Lawrence Wetherhold is a widowed lit prof with two kids (one worships him, the other hates him) and an unpublished tome about how illiterate everyone else is. Quaid jumps — or rather, slouches — fully into the character, but his misery is not something to make you want to break out the violins. Still, this film directed by Noam Murro from a script by Mark Poirier (both first-timers) adds something to the genre, with nuanced (and, yes, smart) supporting characters whose job it is to coddle and piss off Wetherhold — and eventually make him lovable. Ellen Page (Juno) stands out as the prof’s daughter, who acts as if she were his wife. Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church also pitch in. 95 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Harvard Square + Embassy + suburbs
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