WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Newly retired Warren Schmidt (Nicholson) is at a crossroads in his life. He sees his entire life as a failure and decides to make the most out of the time which he has left. He begins by attempting to stop his daughter (Davis) from marrying the king of all losers (the brilliant Mulroney). Along the way, he writes about his adventures to his adopted Tanzanian foster child and discovers a few things about life as well.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Simply put, this movie is about how the smallest gestures can sometimes make the biggest differences in life. Of course, there’s much more to this film than that, but it does address some age-old questions we’ve all asked or will ask ourselves one day: “What’s the purpose of life?”, “Has my life been a success?”, “Will anyone remember me when I’m gone?” and other questions along the same lines. The answers are pretty clear and obvious in ABOUT SCHMIDT and that’s why it’s important that everybody give this film a whirl. If all this sounds bleak, don’t panic, there is actually a lot of humor in the film as well (a few laugh out-loud moments for me) mixed in with the darker more serious themes. Don’t be fooled and deterred by the grim theme and grimmer DVD cover art, much like life itself, the movie is deep, important, serious and very, very sad at times, but it’s those wondrous moments of love, laughter and enlightenment that you’ll end up remembering…forever.
I won’t even bother mentioning Nicholson, the man is in top form once again. I won’t waste time here trying to convince you of this, you’ve seen what he can do in the past, right? Well, he’s still doing it. Mulroney is 100% convincing as a top-notch nincompoop (as Schmidt puts it). Just watch this guy at work and you’ll feel a mix of pity and complete wonderment as you watch him stroll through life without so much as a clue at the complete hopelessness of his situation. Only an actor like Mulroney can actually have you rooting for him though...as I did. Davis plays the daughter nicely and your favorite WKRP disk jockey (Dr. Johnny Fever) Howard Hesseman also provides some quality laughs as Mulroney’s pop. Kathy Bates is good as usual and provides bigger guffaws with her nude scene. Payne strikes gold again (ELECTION) with this sweet and thoughtful tale about a man in search of something, anything to make his life seem worthwhile…aren’t we all?
9 excellent deleted scenes are put together with a written introduction to each of them by director Alexander Payne. I’m usually indifferent to deleted scenes but I thoroughly enjoyed these and hoped a few of them might have been left in the film. A couple of really funny ones sadly bit the dust. This is followed by Woodmen Tower Sequences, which comprises 5 short “films” or intros rather that Payne asked to be shot to start the film off. Interesting and nothing more. Throw in two or three trailers and your extra features tour is over, unfasten your seat-belt, it was a short ride.
I’m a sucker for these character-driven, life affirming slice-of-life films so I was on this like Downey Jr. on dope. Buy this bastard before you find yourself driving cross-country searching for meaning and direction in your life. You’ll avoid plenty of heartache, disappointment and a couple of pesos on petrol to boot.