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About Schmidt

Starring Jack Nicholson
Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
Based on a novel by Louis Begley
Directed by Alexander Payne

IN SHORT: It's all Nicholson. [Rated R for Profanity and Nudity. 124 minutes]

This is the end-of-life story of one Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson, click for StarTalk), bounced out of his job as a mid-level insurance salesman at a mid-sized company in the middle of our great land. Boxes and boxes of his records; the sum total of his life's work go into the company dumpster on his way out of the office. Waiting at home is the way too expensive RV that wife Helen (June Squibb), insisted he spend their retirement money on, so they could tour the country. But wifey washes one floor too many and, in going through her things after the funeral, Schmidt finds certain papers that imply that their marriage was not all that committed. So much for best friends.

Why then is he surprised that his daughter Jeannie (Hope Davis), wants to marry her own kind of a shlub (Dermot Mulroney) . . . kind of like dad? Jeannie doesn't see it that way and isn't exactly thrilled that dad shows up for the wedding in the Winnebago, but the mom-in-law (Kathy Bates) to be is a kind soul -- breast fed her son to age five, dontcha know -- and can be counted on to take care of the dad she doesn't want around.

Let's see. Take one unhappy shlub. Make him really unhappy and then totally miserable and isolated and alone and call it a comedy.

As much as we liked director Alexander Payne's Election, that's how much we disliked About Schmidt. As far as performances go, it may as well be a one man Nicholson spotlight. That's fine by us and Oscar loves that stuff but it doesn't exactly make a well rounded movie. Then again, the last time Jack Nicholson made a comedy, we didn't like it either. Jack won an Oscar and so did most of the folk associated with As Good As It Gets

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to About Schmidt, he would have paid . . .



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