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Smart People (Blu-ray Review)

10 Aug, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi

Smart People

Street 8/12/08
Box Office $9.5 million
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R' for language, brief teen drug and alcohol use, some sexuality.
Stars Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page, Thomas Haden Church.

My grad school days certainly weren't as boring as the lives of Victorian literature professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Quaid) and his teenage daughter (Page). The only one who seems to be having fun in this movie is Thomas Haden Church, who plays Lawrence's brother, Chuck.

Not much happens in this laborious film. The cast is great; the direction and pacing are the problem.

That this film didn't make much money at the box office means there are plenty of people who haven't seen it, which bodes well for rental potential. Fans of Juno will surely seek out this film as a rental (likely on DVD) to check out Page. Quaid and Church also have their own followers, as does Parker. And there's certainly a fan base for similar films such as Wonder Boys, The Squid and the Whale and The Royal Tenenbaums.

When it comes to high-definition, there's no significant reason to watch this film on Blu-ray Disc. The picture quality is good (1080p), but this is not the type of movie that shines in high-definition or makes good use of the 24-bit Dolby TrueHD soundtrack.

There are only two scenes — one in a bar and one in a hospital — where ambient sound is even employed. And the extras on this disc are identical to the DVD release.

There's a commentary from director Noam Murro and writer Mark Poirier, plus a standard featurette, “Smartest People,” in which the stars gush about working with each other. In a rare case where more could have helped the film, there are nine deleted scenes and most of them would have worked within the film to help with characterization. There's also a look at the film's Sundance premiere, which should satisfy film buffs.

An extra that is worthwhile is the free theatrical ticket for Miramax's upcoming release Blindness. A ticket comes inside the box and is good through Oct. 31 for the new horror film, which has a preview on the disc.

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