Critics like the big-name actors in family serio-comedy Smart People —especially Dennis Quaid, who stars as a cranky professor with much to learn about people—but think they might have been smarter to choose a different script. Screenwriter Mark Jude Poirier "is aiming for Scrabulous dialogue but his movie is barely of Boggle quality," Carrie Rickey writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The indie film is in the mold of Little Miss Sunshine but seems "a little too impressed with its quippy dialogue and character quirks," Jeff Vice writes in the Deseret Morning News. There are flashes of brilliance, but all in all, Mick LaSalle writes in the San Francisco Chronicle, "it's neither smart nor about people. It makes a few promises, and then breaks them."