Smart People

Featured In Issue 135, October 2008

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Miramax Home Entertainment
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For language, breif teen drug and alcohol use and for some sexuality
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Noam Murro
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Dolby Digital 5.1, PCM 24/48 5.1
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After the death of his wife, College Professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Quaid) becomes miserable, self-absorbed, and emotionally removed from his son James (Holmes), while inadvertently turning his daughter Vanessa (Page) into a friendless overachiever. When a seizure and fall land Lawrence in the emergency room, he is treated by an attractive physician named Janet Hartigan (Parker), who was once his student. Vanessa takes exception to the new lady in her dad's life when Janet and the professor begin to date. With the help of her ne'er-do-well Uncle Chuck (Church), who has moved in with her dad and her, Vanessa sets out to sabotage the relationship between the two. Will any of these supposedly Smart People be able to get a life? (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include a commentary track by Director Noam Murro and Writer Mark Jude Poirer, interviews with the cast and crew in The Smartest People, nine deleted scenes, two minutes of outtakes in Not So Smart, and previews.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.38:1 DVD exhibits deep black levels with good detailing in the shadows, helping create a fairly dimensional-looking image. Fleshtones appear too brown, and the color scheme is generally dominated by browns, greens, and golds. Colors are somewhat desaturated. Resolution is fair, with finer details smeared, but compression artifacts are rarely distracting. Fairly heavy film grain can be a distraction at first, but it is consistent throughout and is easily forgotten. Contrast is balanced well. Edge enhancement is minor and rarely becomes a distraction. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc is somewhat soft, with the finest details not delivered well. Black levels are elevated some. Contrast is slightly too hot as well. Shadows are somewhat flat, and there is little sense of dimension to the image. (Danny Richelieu)

With its constrained front stage and limited surround activity, the Dolbyģ Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is occasionally fairly lifeless. There are moments, however, that are quite enjoyable, with good fidelity for both music and dialogue and an audible sense of depth in the front stage. Phantom imaging is rare, though, and the LFE channel is not incorporated well, as bass sounds somewhat bloated and out of place. Dynamic range is adequate, and there is a good sense of separation of individual elements in the mix. There is audible compression distortion throughout, and louder passages are clipped from time to time. The Blu-ray Disc's uncompressed linear PCM encoding improves fidelity in the dialogue some, but there are times when loud passages are clipped. Fidelity is good, but the soundtrack just doesn't sound very natural. (Danny Richelieu)