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April 14, 2008 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily
Fil FI EVIEW
I
~Edi
By ANDREW
Daily Staff

- michigandaily.com

Monday, April 14, 2008 - 9A

ucated saps

N LAPIN
Writer

Any college student who sees
"Smart People" is asked to identify
and sympathize
with an arrogant, **
self-absorbed
and narcissistic Smart
English professor
- not an easy task People
by any means. At Showcase
Why should we and Quality16
care that some-
one who displays Miramax
such contempt
for his students (not bothering to
learn any of their names, moving
his clock forward so he won't have
to hold office hours) needs help
getting his personal life in order?
The film never answers this for
us, resulting in an underwhelm-
ing portrait of a curmudgeonly
middle-aged man and the people
who try, with great difficulty, to
make his life slightly less miser-
able.
Dennis Quaid ("Vantage
Point") plays Lawrence Weth-
erhold, a professor of Victorian
literature at Carnegie-Mellon
University. He is a widower emo-
tionally paralyzed with grief, and
still keeps all of his dead wife's
clothes in a closet in his house.
Lawrence suffers a trauma-
induced seizure after a somewhat
contrived incident involving his
car and suddenly realizes he has
to rely on his family more than he
cares to. Complicating matters,
his deadbeat adopted brother
A depressing
a look at your
English prof
(Thomas Haden Church, "Side-
ways") has appeared from out of
nowhere to take up space in his
house and create a negative influ-
ence on his workaholic, high-
school-aged daughter (Ellen
Page, "Juno").
The supposed catalyst in
Lawrence's life is Janet Hartigan
(Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and
the City"), the doctor that treats
him for his seizure. It turns out
Janet is also a former student
of his who has harbored a long-
standing crush, despite his harsh
grading policy. The two begin to
LIL WAYNE
From Page 5A
the best rapper alive" claim get
to his head and ultimately his
music. In the past, Wayne's con-
fidence bolstered his fiery ambi-
tion. He sounded like he had
something to prove to everyone.
But now, Wayne sounds like he
truly believes he's the best; as
if, now that most people believe
he's the best, his work is over.
Consequently, he delivers tracks
like "Lollipop," "Open Shop" and
"Single Again" rather than hits
like "La La La."
Da Drought Is Over 5 is not
enough to completely disregard
everything Wayne's done in the
last two years, but it's certainly
going to take the hype surround-
ing Tha Carter III down a notch
or two. If it weren't for his insa-

tiable ability to spit the sickest
metaphors anyone's ever heard,
this mixtape would be entirely
disposable. So paradoxically, Da
Drought Is Over 5 is good and bad
for the same reason: It was made
by Lil Wayne - his undeniable
prowess keeping it afloat while
his ever-growing ego weighs too
heavily on the disc's shoulders.
JO BS09

date, but Lawrence can't ever seem
to talk or think about anything
other than himself. So flawed is
this relationship that they have to
break up a total of three times over.
the course of the movie. Why Janet
keeps taking himback is a mystery.
Clearly, he needs her to stabilize
his life (though he won't admit it),
but it's not clear whyshe needs him
until another forced twist near the
end.
The tone of "Smart People" is
aggressively low-key, from the
barely-there whiff of a plot to the
quiet guitar strumming of the
soundtrack. Everyone's perfor-
mance is scaled back about ten
degrees, as though each scene were
filmed after the cast members had
taken a long nap. It's a shame, too,
because these are all such talented
actors, but most of them are given

underwritten roles. As Lawrence's
brother,Churchisrequiredtoeither
disappoint with incompetence or
give sage advice on life. Page, in her
first post-"Juno" role, still exudes
tremendous charm, even though
she's playing a composite of stereo-
types (the "super-hardcore college
prep student that learns to loosen
up" mixed with "overprotective
child that refuses to let anyone new
into her family"). The hero worship
she imposes upon her flawed father
borrows many elements from Noah
Baumbauch's "The Squid and the
Whale" (2005), a much better
film about a self-absorbed English
scholar and his family. "Smart Peo-
ple" is dull and somewhat depress-
ing, and the plight of the hapless
professor definitely won't earn any
points for coming out right before
finals week.

"I saw you naked on TV last night."

Spring/Summer Term
Apply now at the
Law Library-
" Non-Law Students
" Law Students
" S.I. Students

Minimum pay is
$9.00 per hour!

use a condom every tTme. T
trojanevoLvecom

I

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