Smart People is a 2008 American comedy-drama film starring Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elliot Page, and Thomas Haden Church. The film was directed by Noam Murro, written by Mark Poirier and produced by Michael London, with Omar Amanat serving as executive producer. Smart People was filmed on location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, including several scenes at Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh International Airport. Premiering at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, North American distribution rights were acquired by Miramax Films and the film was released widely on April 11, 2008.


Carnegie Mellon English Professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) is a widowed parent of an alienated college son, James (Ashton Holmes), overachieving high school daughter, Vanessa (Elliot Page), and sibling to an adopted ne'er-do-well brother, Chuck (Thomas Haden Church) whom he cannot evade enough. He is bitter, arrogant, self-absorbed, and uninterested in his students. This becomes a problem when he parks illegally on campus. The car is impounded and the security guard, a disgruntled former student, refuses him access. Lawrence has a trauma-induced seizure after falling from the top of a fence after retrieving his briefcase from inside the impounded car.