Smart People Widescreen Edition
Directed by Noam Murro
Starring Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page, Thomas Haden Church
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release date: August 12, 2008
I will preface this review with an admission of guilt that I am more than happy to announce as loud as it will take for anyone to hear it: I can’t stand Ellen Page. In my humble opinion Juno was just alright and my distaste for the movie rests solely on the shoulders of its star. I found myself defending my position during the film’s release more than I felt necessary and the singular argument that came from the other camp was that if I like her in Hard Candy (I did) and hated her in Juno, then I must have disliked the character Juno more than the person acting as her. That wouldn’t be a bad argument if it weren’t completely wrong. On the timeline of this longstanding debate, Smart People may have dealt the death blow for the opposing side. But let me back up just a touch.
As a film critic, I would like to think I am subjective enough not to let a singular performance ruin an otherwise decent movie. It hasn’t always held true (see: Juno), but I was bound and determined not to let it happen here. In other words, I went into it with an open mind. I am proud to say that I did not find Smart People to be a bad movie because of Ellen Page. No, this time it was a group effort.