Some funny moments
Sad in so many ways
ConsNot as hilarious as it is biiled
The DVD box, of About Schmidt, has claims that this film is 'hilarious' and 'a comic treasure'. Perhaps it is because I am not that far from the age of the main characters, that I felt that, despite being a funny film, it was more sad and in many ways true to life than hilariously funny.
Warren Schmidt, played by Jack Nicholson, is about to retire.
Actually the film starts as the final minutes countdown on his career in Insurance. After many years with the same firm, he has reached a comfortable position, but not the dizzying heights he dreamed of reaching, as a young man.
His retirement party is overflowing with his colleagues, friends, his replacement at work and full of all the nonsense that such events decree.
Settling into retirement he finds that he is adrift in a life without meaning. Still, he and his wife Helen, played by June Squibb, have bought a large tourer and are about to set of on some final adventures. Of course, life never likes to play the game and Warren's life is set to be turned upside down.
Whilst going through the motions, and trying to pick up the pieces, he uncovers a skeleton in the cupboard which truly upsets the applecart.
Added to all of Warren's personal trials and tribulations, his beloved daughter, who lives some distance away, is about to be married to someone that Warren feels falls well short of the mark. He finds some solace and purpose in letters to his recently adopted postal foster son in Africa. Little Ndugu is only six years old but Warren still pours his heart out to him with each letter he writes.
This film is slow moving, steady, sad, funny and has many moments that are true to life. Well many that I can relate to.
The town where Warren and Helen live is nothing special and could be anywhere in the world. So many times in American films the city or town is nothing like what most of us experience. However, About Schmidt is set in a very ordinary town.
As Warren ponders what seems to have been a waste of his life, and the what seems to have been a sham of a marriage for 42 years of it, the viewer is left wondering whether Warren will finally do the unexpected and take a few chances.
Kathy Bates plays Warren's daughter's future Mother-in-Law, Roberta. She and the other relatives from this family are the total opposite of Warren, Helen and their lifestyle. There are many really funny moments throughout this film, such as Warren's rebellion after years of urinating whilst sat down on the toilet. In one last stand, literally, he stands up and makes sure that he makes as much mess as possible.
Jack Nicholson's deadpan face fits the ageing Warren perfectly, as he seemingly wanders lost through his later years. Sharing unexpectedly a hot tub with Roberta scares the hell out of him.
If you fancy this film try and watch it without delving more into the plot than is written here. About Schmidt will be too slow a movie for many viewers but, if you like your comedy touched with pathos, personal experience, life and irony, then this film could be for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD and actually watched it twice before returning it to Blockbusters.
Of course I did not look at the extras which are:-
9 Deleted scenes
Woodmen Tower sequences. Woodmen is the offices where Warren worked.
A Theatrical Trailer.
About Schmidt was nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Jack Nicholson as Best Actor and one for Kathy Bates as Best Supporting Actress. This fil, was released in 2002 and has a running time of 125 minutes.
It is rated 15 but I personally feel that much of the poignancy and humour would be wasted on a younger audience.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.