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Smart People – Review

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WARNING: Spoiler Review! If you haven’t seen this movie and plan on it, you’ve been warned.

I went to see the movie Smart People last night. Dennis Quaid stars as Lawrence Wetherhold, widowed, a self-centered, slightly arrogant English professor at Carnegie Mellon University. After jumping a fence at a university impoundment lot to get a briefcase out of his car, he injures himself and ends up in the hospital. There he meets a former student of his, played by Sarah Jessica Parker.

After a few awkward incidents, he finally asks her out on a date. He proceeds to drive her away on their first date, though, after talking about a book he’s writing for forty-five minutes without letting her get a single word in. He then goes back to the ER to ask her for one more chance, and the second date goes much better.

He ends up finding a publisher for his new book and decides to bring her along to New York City for the meeting. She ends up getting pregnant and tries to tell him, but he’s being too arrogant and unapproachable to notice. They end up together and relatively happy in the end, though.

Ellen Page, star of last year’s hugely successful film Juno, plays Quaid’s daughter and provides comic relief, along with Thomas Haden Church, who plays his adopted, sedentary, do-nothing brother. They do little more than lighten the mood, though. Their characters both remain very stagnant and have hardly any dimension to them throughout the duration of the film.

If you like movies such as The Family Stone, you’ll probably enjoy this film, but will probably also notice the lack of a dynamic story line or character development. Overall, though, I really didn’t think it was a bad film at all.

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Juno – Review

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I’m on a roll here with the movies this week. I saw another one last night: Juno. It was the best movie of any type I’ve seen since Superbad. Ellen Page stars as Juno, a sixteen-year-old girl who’s gotten pregnant by her friend Paulie, played by Michael Cera (from Superbad).

The story evolves around what she decides to do with the baby. She opts for adoption and forms a bond with the family that is to keep her child. I’ll stop there because I always spoil a lot of the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, and I really think you should. There’s no deep, complex plot beyond that, though, but it’s the dry humor and sporadic hilarious lines in this dark comedy that make it so great. Michael Cera is brilliant in this film just as he was in Superbad, and his sarcastic, slightly awkward ways make for a very, very funny movie.

This was a Fox Searchlight picture (described by many as an “Indiewood” (Hollywood-style but still independent) studio), just as Napoleon Dynamite and Little Miss Sunshine were, and although these are all lower-budget films, they were all excellent. Juno was the best by far, though. I don’t usually do it, but I am planning on seeing this movie again. Definitely check this one out.

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