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Smart People, Noam Murro (2008)

OK, seriously, what’s going on with Hollywood comedies and pregnancy? When I was a lad, a quarter-century ago, if a smart young woman in a comedy thought she might be pregnant, she didn’t get dewy-eyed, she rolled her eyes and said, “Oh God, that’s all I need.” And if she did get knocked up by some jackass, she got an abortion.

Fast forward into the so-called future, though, and suddenly you can’t swing a cat without hitting a baby-ex-machina. Baby Mama, Waitress, Knocked Up, Juno, Maybe Baby . . . I know there are others; I’m just too annoyed to look them up.

Smart People is a terrible movie which steals techniques, characters, and attitudes from far more fun work like Weeds and The Royal Tennenbaums, but not nearly enough of them to become fun itself. The characters are ham-fisted and simplistic (misanthrope parks his car across two spaces; fun uncle feeds beer to children; overachieving child studies all the time), the plot is predictable and unbelievable by turns, the dialog tries to pass as sardonic but is really just flat. But the crowning idiocy is the movie’s astonishing attempt to have us believe that Sarah Jessica Parker, as a smart, beautiful, successful, emergency room doctor, would a) allow herself to be impregnated by annoying, unshaven, whiny, pompous, failed humanities professor Dennis Quaid, and then b) have the baby, for no discernible reason other than to make the professor happy. Moral of the story: If you’re a mean middle-aged jackass professor whose life is going nowhere, get a beautiful former student to have your baby and take care of both it and you forever. This isn’t a comedy, it’s a fantasy.

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