Smart People (2008)

Smart People 2008tt0858479.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Smart People (2008)
  • Rate: 6.2/10 total 15,732 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
  • Release Date: 11 April 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 95 min
  • Filming Location: Allegheny General Hospital – 320 East North Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Gross: $9,496,882(USA)(1 June 2008)
  • Director: Noam Murro
  • Stars: Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church and Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Original Music By: Nuno Bettencourt (music by)  
  • Soundtrack: Stitch
  • Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS
  • Plot Keyword: Professor | Student | Adopted Brother | Date | Emergency Room

Writing Credits By:

  • Mark Poirier (written by) (as Mark Jude Poirier)

Known Trivia

  • Rachel Weisz was originally cast opposite Dennis Quaid in this film, but she decided to leave the project. She was then replaced with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Goofs: Errors in geography: In the exterior New York hotel shots, which were actually shot in Pittsburgh, the taxi used is clearly a City of Pittsburgh cab, used as such in other parts of the movie, not a New York City taxi as suggested by the movie's story. Pittsburgh Cab Company checkers, logo and phone number are all visible on the side of the cab. The cab is also missing the NYC medallion, the medallion number on the roof, and the sub-letter on its license plate, all characteristics of New York City taxis.

Plot: Into the life of a widowed professor comes a new love and an unexpected visit from his adopted brother. Full summary »  »

Story: Lawrence Wetherhold is miserable and misanthropic: he's a widower, a pompous professor at Carnegie Mellon, an indifferent father to a college student and a high-school senior, and the reluctant brother of a ne'er-do-well who's come to town. A seizure and a fall send Lawrence to the emergency room where the physician, a former student of his, ends up going on a date with him. His daughter, Vanessa, lonely and friendless, who's been bonding with his brother, tries to sabotage dad and the doctor's relationship, but Lawrence is good at that without help. Is there any way these smart people can get a life? Can happiness be pursued beneath layers of irony?Written by <>  


Synopsis: Carnegie Mellon English Professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) is a depressed middle-aged widower. He is arrogant at work, uninterested in his students, and alienated from his two children. His adopted ne’er-do-well brother Chuck (Thomas Haden Church) arrives to borrow money and stay for a while, and tries to unwind Lawrence’s lonely, high-achieving teenage daughter Vanessa (Ellen Page).

Meanwhile, Lawrence suffers a trauma-induced seizure after falling from the top of a fence in an attempt to retrieve his briefcase from inside of his impounded car. After being released from the hospital, Lawrence has a meeting with a sympathetic doctor, Janet (Sarah Jessica Parker), a former student he does not recall. Janet fulfills her long-ago crush with a "face-to-face" date with the professor, towards which Vanessa verbalizes her displeasure, confronting Janet about Lawrence’s fragility. At dinner, however, Lawrence displays his stultifying arrogance and Janet walks out. The two reconcile at a second date, but, while spending the night, Janet is turned off by Lawrence’s neediness and worries that he is, in fact, still too distraught by his wife’s death. In order to get rid of him, she feigns being called in by the hospital and does not return any of his subsequent calls. On another night, in the midst of a contentious Christmas family dinner at the Wetherholds’, Janet arrives unannounced with a cake.

After Chuck gets Vanessa drunk to celebrate her early acceptance into Stanford University, she makes a pass at him. He then moves in part-time with Lawrence’s son, James (Ashton Holmes), in his college dormitory.

James’ girlfriend and Lawrence’s student Missy (Camille Mana) tells Lawrence that James has had a poem accepted at The New Yorker. By contrast, Lawrence has failed to sell his latest academic tome to any publisher. Vanessa changes the title to You Can’t Read! and the book is sold to Penguin Group, a large non-academic publisher in New York. To Lawrence’s dismay, however, the book is largely re-worked and edited by the publisher. Janet accompanies him on a trip to New York, where she learns she is pregnant by Lawrence. Pre-occupied by his book publishing and an on-going campaign to become chairman of the English Department at the college, Janet is again upset by Lawrence’s self-absorption and breaks up without telling him the news.

Back in Pittsburgh, Lawrence is additionally confronted by both James and Chuck, who both point to his uninvolvedness with his children’s lives. Helped along by Chuck, Lawrence goes to the hospital to reconcile with Janet, who reveals her pregnancy. He has meanwhile become a more involved parent and professor. During the end credits, the main characters cradle twin babies.

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Omar Amanat known as executive producer
  • Deborah Aquila known as co-producer
  • Steffen Aumueller known as executive producer (as Steffen Aumüller)
  • Bill Block known as executive producer
  • Said Boudarga known as executive producer
  • Claus Clausen known as co-producer
  • Michael Costigan known as producer
  • Marina Grasic known as executive producer
  • Paul Hanson known as executive producer
  • Bridget Johnson known as producer
  • Michael London known as producer
  • Kenneth Orkin known as executive producer
  • Bruna Papandrea known as producer
  • Jennifer Roth known as executive producer
  • Edward Rugoff known as executive producer (as Ed Rugoff)
  • Glenn M. Stewart known as co-producer (as Glenn Stewart)
  • John Woldenberg known as co-producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Dennis Quaid known as Lawrence Wetherhold
  • Sarah Jessica Parker known as Janet Hartigan
  • Thomas Haden Church known as Chuck Wetherhold
  • Ellen Page known as Vanessa Wetherhold
  • Ashton Holmes known as James Wetherhold
  • Christine Lahti known as Nancy
  • Camille Mana known as Missy
  • David Denman known as William
  • Don Wadsworth known as Hadley
  • Robert Haley known as Roth
  • Patrick Sebes known as Curtis
  • Kevin James Doyle known as Rodney
  • Paul Huber known as Ben (as Paul J. Huber)
  • Iva Jean Saraceni known as Volunteer
  • Richard John Walters known as Parking Lot Attendant
  • Scott A. Martin known as Weller
  • Jane Mowder known as Knight
  • Adam Kroloff known as Talbot
  • Patrick Jordan known as Waiter
  • Amanda Jane Cooper known as Brooke
  • Kiley Caughey known as Linsey
  • Christy Harst known as Waitress
  • Rick Warner known as Bloomberg
  • Barret Hackney known as Joseph
  • José A. Rivas known as Student (as Jose A. Rivas)
  • Zilda Alvez known as Bar Patron (uncredited)
  • Tony Amen known as Dining Patron (uncredited)
  • Elysia Annacini known as Professor (uncredited)
  • Aaron Bernard known as Pool Shark (uncredited)
  • Will Guffey known as Student (uncredited)
  • John W. Iwanonkiw known as Diner Guest (uncredited)
  • William Kania known as Man at Luggage Pick-up (uncredited)
  • Benjamin Jeran McGinn known as Student (uncredited)
  • Jackson Nunn known as Club Scene: Dining (uncredited)
  • Joe Pawlenko known as Bar Patron (uncredited)
  • Jon Yu known as Student (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Ron Berkeley known as key makeup artist
  • Judy Chin known as makeup department head
  • Mandy Lyons known as hair department head
  • Kelly Nelson known as key hair artist
  • Cammi Upton known as makeup production assistant (uncredited)
  • Teresa Valenzuela known as wig maker (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • Kimberlee Andrews known as art department coordinator
  • Timothy Barnhill known as set dresser
  • Joshua Bonnett known as on set painter
  • Lisa Bruno known as on set painter
  • Keith Brzozowski known as carpenter
  • Paul Bucciarelli known as on set dresser
  • Robert Buncher known as set dresser
  • Eileen Garrigan known as lead scenic
  • Thomas J. Garrigan known as assistant property master (as Tom Garrigan)
  • Jim Heastings known as carpenter
  • Don Hedenburg known as paint foreman
  • Darryl Henley known as storyboard artist
  • Gary Jurysta known as on set painter
  • Lauren Jurysta known as on set painter
  • Kenneth J. Kellers known as lead dresser (as Ken Kellers)
  • Mark E. Kiley known as carpenter
  • Lara Lampenfield known as on set painter (as Lara Lampenfeld)
  • Merissa Lombardo known as on set painter
  • Lauri Mancuso known as on set painter
  • Joseph A. Manni known as carpenter
  • Mike Matesic known as carpenter (as Michael J. Matesic)
  • Michael J. McKee known as carpenter (as Michael McKee)
  • Barbie Pastorik known as buyer
  • Justin Pelissero known as additional set dresser
  • Buster Pile known as construction coordinator
  • Ray Pivirotto known as lead dresser
  • Ronald J. Reitlinger known as carpenter
  • Mike Richer known as construction foreman
  • Michael Sabo known as property master (as Michael A. Sabo)
  • Christopher St. Pierre known as on set painter
  • Diana Stoughton known as on set painter
  • Scott B. Wood known as carpenter
  • Smith Harper Hutchings known as buyer (uncredited)
  • Smith Harper Hutchings known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Jonathan Joseph known as art department intern (uncredited)
  • Mary O'Brien known as scenic artist (uncredited)
  • Jesse Ross known as on-set dresser (uncredited)


Production Companies:

  • Miramax Films (present)
  • Groundswell Productions (present)
  • Sherazade Film Development (in association with) (as Sherazade Films)
  • Visitor Pictures (in association with)
  • Corduroy Films (as A Corduroy Films/Table Top Films Production)
  • TableTop Films (as A Corduroy Films/Table Top Films Production)
  • QED International (in association with)
  • Grosvenor Park Productions (uncredited)
  • Scheherazade (uncredited)

Other Companies:

  • AON/Albert G. Ruben Insurance Services  insurance services provided by
  • Adwil Agency  product placement
  • Arby's  special thanks
  • Arriflex  filmed with
  • Audi  special thanks
  • Axon Film Finance 1  acknowlegement: is an author of this motion picture for the purpose of copyright and other laws (as Axon Film Finance 1, LLC)
  • Camera House, The  cameras provided by
  • Carhartt  special thanks (as Carhartt, Inc.)
  • Carnegie Mellon University  special thanks
  • Chesterfield Writer's Film Project  developed in association with
  • Coca-Cola Company, The  special thanks
  • Comerica Entertainment Group  production financing provided by
  • Dell  special thanks
  • Digital Post Services  delivery and international servicing (uncredited)
  • Don Francisco Specialty Coffee  special thanks
  • Entertainment Clearances  rights and clearances
  • Entertainment Partners  payroll services provided by
  • Film Finances  completion guaranty provided by (as Film Finances, Inc.)
  • Fintage House  collection account management by
  • Firehouse Lounge  special thanks (as The Fire House Lounge)
  • Flying Lizard Design – Vallora  special thanks
  • GEM Global Entertainment Magyar  presented in association with
  • Hanna Brothers Catering  catering
  • Hard Rock Cafe International 'Los Angeles' Inc.  special thanks (as Hard Rock Cafe)
  • Hollywood Studio Rental  lighting provided by (as Hollywood Rental)
  • Hughes Television Productions  courtesy of: epk
  • Larabar  special thanks
  • Latico Leathers  special thanks
  • Lightnin' Production Rentals  transportation equipment (uncredited)
  • MS-Pro/  post-production (music services) (uncredited)
  • Mattel  used by permission of: Scrabble Board Game (international rights) (as Mattel, Inc.)
  • Media Distributors Film Source  Fuji film provided by (uncredited)
  • Nau  main titles designed by
  • New Directions Publishing  used by permission of: "The Red Eheelbarroe" by William Carlos Williams, Collected poems: 1909-1929, Volume 1, copyright © 1939 (as New Directions Publishing Corp.)
  • North Face, The  special thanks
  • Penguin Group  special thanks
  • Pennsylvania Film Office  logo
  • Pivotal Post  avid editing systems provided by
  • Post Logic Studios  avid editing systems provided by
  • Reel Team, The  adr casting by
  • Rockbottom Rentals  cell phone rentals (uncredited)
  • Rockbottom Rentals  modem card rentals (uncredited)
  • Rockbottom Rentals  walkie rentals (uncredited)
  • Roll Your Own  acknowlegement: is an author of this motion picture for the purpose of copyright and other laws (as Roll Your Own, Ltd.)
  • Scarlet Letters  end titles by
  • Sewickley Car Store  special thanks
  • Southwest Airlines  special thanks
  • University of Minnesota Press  special thanks
  • Videorama  special thanks
  • Widget Post Production  post production sound services by


  • CatchPlay (2008) (Taiwan) (all media)
  • Miramax Films (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • TFM Distribution (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • A-Film Home Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (ARD) (2011) (Germany) (TV)
  • Blue Sky Media (2008) (Czech Republic) (all media)
  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (2011) (UK) (TV) (BBC2)
  • CCRE (2009) (Japan) (DVD)
  • Gativideo (2009) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Kinowelt Home Entertainment (2009) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Sandrew Metronome Distribution (2008) (Finland) (DVD)
  • Top Film (2008) (Russia) (all media)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Post Logic Studios (visual effects by)

Visual Effects by:

  • Grant Janssen known as senior systems engineer: Post Logic Strudios
  • Eric Pardee known as data management: Post Logic Studios
  • Patrick Phillips known as inferno artist: Post Logic Studios

Release Date:

  • USA 20 January 2008 (Sundance Film Festival)
  • Germany 9 February 2008 (European Film Market)
  • USA 11 April 2008
  • Australia 24 April 2008
  • Ireland 16 May 2008
  • UK 16 May 2008
  • Israel 12 June 2008
  • Russia 3 July 2008
  • Turkey 25 July 2008
  • New Zealand 31 July 2008
  • South Korea 21 August 2008
  • Iceland 12 September 2008
  • Hong Kong 30 October 2008
  • Greece 5 November 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Brazil 2 December 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Finland 3 December 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Taiwan 24 December 2008
  • Mexico 23 January 2009
  • Germany 5 June 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • France 17 June 2009
  • Argentina 22 July 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Japan 26 August 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Netherlands 11 May 2010 (DVD premiere)

MPAA: Rated R for language, brief teen drug and alcohol use, and for some sexuality


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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