Underrated?

Page, Quaid, Church and Parker in one movie
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HeartHer
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Jul 26, 2010 12:14 pm

It seems like the critics don't think too much of Smart People, with only a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 57 on Metacritic, which indicates mixed or average reviews.

The plot's pretty basic, but it's pretty well fleshed out. Maybe as a member of this board I'm a bit biased and have to think any movie with Ellen Page in it is at very least a good movie, but it really did feel like a solid movie, even when Ellen wasn't on screen. When she was on she stole the show with another fantastic performance, taking a similar basic attitude as that of Juno, the sharp tongued teen, but instead of being a rebellious, spunky, and an just generally "out-there" teen, she is the perfect girl, in all sorts of clubs at school, getting a 2400 on the SAT, getting into Stanford, etc. Had to smile when she got her acceptance letter and squealed with glee, captured the real excitement of it well. She made it a good movie, but even without her I felt like it had a pretty solid foundation. Some critics criticized it as feeling too phony, but it seemed pretty real to me. Every family has a unique story and this was just telling the story of a certain family getting over a bump.

A bit more dramatic than the commercials made it out to be, but still funny and it was a well told basic story with interesting and generally likable characters.

Anyone else feel this way? I don't think it's on par with Ellen's very best but it's better than it gets credit for, although even the critics who dislike it seem to acknowledge her great performance, so maybe I should just take that :longtongue: .
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AddisonTea
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Jul 26, 2010 2:46 pm

I liked it a lot. It's my favorite EP movie. I simply like how she has that crush on her uncle, but hides it in a sleek fashion. I'm sick of critics overall. Opinions of theirs are meaningless to me.
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JerseyDevil65
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Jul 26, 2010 8:05 pm

Its not my favorite EP movie but I liked the storyline between Vanessa and the adopted uncle. I really do not like SJP and she almost makes the movie unwatchable at times.
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Jul 26, 2010 8:39 pm

JerseyDevil65 wrote:Its not my favorite EP movie but I liked the storyline between Vanessa and the adopted uncle. I really do not like SJP and she almost makes the movie unwatchable at times.
I agree. Well I don't think SJP makes it almost unwatchable, but she was a bit annoying. Luckily despite the fact that she was a major character, she was not constantly needed to drive the plot. I do think a slightly larger focus on the story between Vanessa and Chuck would've benefitted the movie, some parts of that storyline were just fantastic. I did particularly enjoy when Vanessa comes out of the bathroom drunk to all those girls and says "So... what's it like to be... like... stupid?". Also when they walk back in from the bar and Lawrence asks "ARE YOU DRUNK?" and she just waves her hand and says "Psssssssshhhhhhhhhh" and walks up to her room.

Again not the best movie she's been in, although her performance in it is up among the best as usual, but it was pretty damn good. I like how in the end they basically make due with what they've got, there's no miracle, they're just all suddenly pretty happy with what's going on. Lawrence allows the book to be released to pay for Vanessa to go to Stanford, he finds out about what was wrong with Janet, and they just go along with it, and somehow his personality is a bit sweetened by the whole experience. Realistic, no sudden moment of epitome as Lawrence himself says, just a real ending.
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Jul 27, 2010 7:31 am

Vanessa was one of Ellen's best characters....but SJP killed the film. Now I know what they mean by "wooden" performances. I agree that if they focused more on Vanessa and Chuck....and Vanessa and her dad....this would have been a much better film.

The pot-smoking scenes were actually quite funny....Ellen can play a stoner quite well :biggrin:
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Jul 27, 2010 9:07 am

Hahaha wow there's a lot of SJP hate here :lol2: . Can't blame you, her glorification as a sex symbol because she was in Sex and the City has been absolutely ridiculous considering she's neither very attractive nor very talented. I thought Lawrence was a good enough character to overcome SJP's annoyances and Vanessa and her uncle were a hilarious duo. The drunk and high scenes were great.
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Jul 27, 2010 11:25 am

I don't think she was terrible in the film. Maybe I need a rewatch, but I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a fan of hers and I thought she did an okay job. Smart People is a good film and I'm surprised it hasn't earned as much recognition as it deserves. It's no Sideways, but it has a similar feel to it (But that may be more because of Thomas Haden Church being in it and the trailer telling me that it was from the same producer).
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Aug 25, 2010 12:10 am

I found this movie enjoyable. I could really relate to the actors' performances, such as Quaid as the quirky college professor, the tenuous relationship between teenager (Ellen) and parents (Quaid and Church), and Ellen's life during a stressful college admissions period. Add in some very funny moments and this became a quality flick. So yes, I found this movie to be underrated as well.
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Aug 25, 2010 6:48 am

Definitely not underrated. I think it was rated quite well. The plot drags and the only characters I really liked were Ellen's and THC's. Dennis Quaid was boring, which is not surprising, given the character he was meant to portray... And SJP ruins it all. I don't see how it's a comedy, as the funniest portion of the movie was in the beginning, where Vanessa mistakes Janet for a telemarketer and even that alone was only mouth-twitch worthy.
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Oct 21, 2010 11:53 pm

Sorry to resurrect a dead thread, but I'd love to join in this one...;

I think the reason that the film didn't do quite as well as possible was down to a pair of key factors;

1) SJP - *yawn* As others mentioned, her performance was wooden, and it just detracted from the film. And I've not even started about my personal dislike of her as an actress.
2) Was it a new idea? I'd go for not really. I think, compared to Ellen's other hugely successful films, it was a bit of an old idea. Hard Candy was never before done in such a mainstream way, and Juno brought a lot more comedy to the genre, and the idea of teenage maturity was key to Diablo Cody's script, where in Smart People, it was all good, but there was no new idea imo. We've all seen films with honour students before, remember? It's a principle that extends to any area of cinema if the screenplay writer puts their mind to it. (Kudos if you got that rooftop paraphrasing)

That's not to say I thought it was bad; I thought it was a very good film, and echoing other's comments, I loved the high and drunk scenes, and Ellen's performance in general was pretty sublime. (Smoking Pot with Ellen would be a pretty awesome experience, imo.)

And that folks, was my two cents (:
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