Jack Nicolson, Hope Davis Kathy Bates, Dermot Mulroney and Howard
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Schmidt is oddly endearing. Jack Nicholson is finally not
Jack Nicholson. The smirk is gone. He actually also accomplished
this in Sean Penn's The Pledge
- but here he really IS this old fart Warren Schmidt.
a nondescript everyman's man; a sixty-six year old middle America
milk toast fellow who has never done anything really remarkable
and has always just been. Schmidt finds himself in the middle
of new chapters in his life -suddenly and without preparation.
He has just retired from a job, we get the idea, is his life.
His only daughter is about to marry beneath her. And worse of
all he discovers he really does love his wife of 42 years.
Warren Schmidt is having all these huge changes thrown at him.
He decides to focus on breaking up his daughter's marriage. Right.
Not so smart
his daughter, Jeannie (Hope Davis) is mad for her beau-to-be,
Randall (Dermot Mulroney). Schmidt only sees a mullet wearing,
ne'r do well of a common garden variety schlubb that has trouble
getting through a two weeks Vocational Tech certificate course
on using a VCR. Randall in reality is a simple man with a heart
is searching for something to make his twilight years meaningful.
He starts to sponsor a Tanzanian child, Ndugo Umbo, ala one of
those 22.00 a month programs by ChildReach
Foundation. He writes these long-winded and blunt letters
to the six-year-old child. These letter's to Ndugo act as our
narration through his journey of self-discovery.
Schmidt actually decides (in the middle of a sleepless night)
to set out to "help" his daughter this sometimes warm,
unexpectedly witty and often engaging film really starts to roll.
feel privy to Schmidt's changes as he grows (apparently) for the
first time in his life. His walls are crumbling in and at times
there's even a pang of sadness for this guy. But before you get
too depressed for him we all meet Randall's mom Roberta Hertzel
Roberta is a free spirit and polar opposite of Schmidt. The awkwardness
of the two families meeting is one of the finest scenes on film.
Of course look at the cast
no murders, no car chases, no sex. About Schmidt is just
that, about Schmidt. It's a slow moving delicate story that creeps
into your heart; if you let it.
was dynamic. A lesser lead could have bored us to tears and troughing
on snacks from the forbidden theater menu. It was nice to see
the old man show us why he's the legend he is. Did ya know
Jackie The Robust use to be this huge sex symbol? He deserved
it, trust me, see Witches of Eastwick. Now he's decided
(unlike say Mick Jagger) it's time to act his age and let the
mankebab within relax and stop grossing out the audiences. Bravo!
I will wager he and Nic Cage will be in
battle next spring over the coveted little Oscar.
Bates is perfection, as always. Here she gets to exercise her
comedy skills and of course she nails it.
Davis is huge emerging talent. Her face gives great camera! Hope
has that rare ability to say a thousand words without uttering
a syllable. Watch out for this gal.
Mulroney is devilishly handsome in real life. Here? Dear god he
really done good as a black Reebok wearin'- mullet sporting- air
guitar playing- oblivious dude guy. There are so many of these
Randall's in the world I am sure all Dermot had to do was hit
a local rock and roll bar on a Saturday night for research. You
could practically hear "Rock Me Like a Hurricane" each
time he graced the screen
or maybe that was just me in some
horrible flashback of an erroneous choice of evening's entertainment
years before wielding it's mullet wearing head! Argh.
film is not for everyone because it is a tad slow; but it grows
on you. For those who like to see actors doing their job well,
and subtle little yarns about people discovering themselves About
Schmidt is a must see. For the "smash-'em-up-real-good"
lots? You'd best go see James Bond again or The Hot Chick.
Recommendation: Dairy Queen Blizzard w/ Reese's pieces and