I honestly feel like outsourcing my commentaries on this poster to the fellows over at I Watch Stuff.
I realize that letters cut from a New Yorker might feel too ransom-notey, but is Scrabble really the best way they could find to identify “smart people”? Since when is Scrabble a game of the intelligentsia any more than Monopoly is the game of wealthy real estate moguls and pewter schnauzers?
Not only is Scrabble pretty reminiscent of a caricature of “smart people”, Denis Quaid and Ellen Page also look like caricature versions of what smart people should look like. And Thomas Haden Church looks like a classic movie slacker, part of the non smart contingent of the movie, one presumes. Add to this the typical way in which the characters are arranged and the uninspired lime green on white background, the type of background we see used in the posters for a lot of equally uninspired comedies, and you have a poster that makes the movie look anything but smart. Or realistic for that matter.
The thing is, Smart people is, supposedly, not a broad stupid comedy full of implausible characterizations. It’s a little Sundance movie the some reviewers have described as being well-observed, human and, yes, even smart. And yet, by using so many conventions associated with much less interesting fare the poster fails to get across any of the film’s uniqueness.
It’s too bad. Movies like this have a hard time getting any attention, and the poster seems tailor-made to scare away the people most likely to enjoy it in the first place.