The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

SMART PEOPLE (2008) **


Okay, well if you’ve just read my review for The Seduction, you’ve heard all about my unwholesome fixation on Morgan Fairchild, so now I guess it’s time to fess up about my man-crush on Dennis Quaid.  Unlike Morgan, I can pinpoint exactly when this odd (but totally platonic) fascination began.  It was the constant exposure to Quaid movies in the mid 80’s on HBO.  There was never a day that the Quaidster wasn’t on that network.  Specifically I’m talking about the Holy Quaid Trinity here, Tough Enough, Dreamscape and the immortal Jaws 3-D.  I don’t know about you but there's something about a guy who can knock out ten boxers, fight an evil snakeman and blow up a great white shark that commands a five year old’s total respect and (non-homosexual) love. 


Quaid’s got a new flick out this week and it’s called Smart People.  It’s all about Quaid being this bearded asshole intellectual snob professor who is a widow and has to deal with raising his asshole intellectual snob daughter (Ellen Page from Juno) and put up with his shiftless lay about adopted brother (Thomas Haden Church).  After a convenient accident (courtesy of some sloppy screenwriting more than anything), Quaid gets conked on the noggin and goes to the hospital where he meets a doctor (Sarah Jessica Parker) who also happens to be a former student.  They fall in love (or what passes for love when you’re a bearded asshole intellectual snob) and she teaches him not to be so damn aloof and scholarly all the time and helps him reconnect with the real world. 


What saves this movie from being a total femmy Lifetime Original is Quaid’s performance.  You can always tell when Quaid is full on “actor” mode because he’s got facial hair.  Remember him “acting” in Enemy Mine?  Beard.  Gang Related?  Homeless Beard.  Wyatt Earp?  Handlebar moustache.  He imbues his character with a bunch of odd quirks (potbelly) and tics (his gait is something approximating Quasimodo with a rock in his shoe) and really succeeds in making him into a fully three dimensional bearded asshole intellectual snob. 


The problem with a movie about a bearded asshole intellectual snob is that it gets awfully depressing after awhile.  (If Church wasn’t in this flick to give it a little comic relief, it would be like attending a funeral.)  Parker and Page are equally dour (Page is basically playing a more morose version of Juno) and both of them at one point get out-acted by Quaid’s beard. 


The film is equally aloof as Quaid’s character and always keeps the audience at arm’s length, only warming up to them at the very end.  It’s okay to make a movie about terminally gloomy people; it’s just too much to ask that it be entertaining I guess.  It’s no Dragonheart that’s for sure. 


Open statement to Quaid:  Quit making baloney like this and start work on Dreamscape 2:  Snakeman Bugaloo immediately. 

Tags: drama, s

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