|About Schmidt (2002)
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Kathy Bates
Director: Alexander Payne
I was happy when Jack Nicholson's new film "About Schmidt" rolled into Cleveland this past weekend, a film I've been waiting to see since I heard about it last summer. Those keen on Jack's prior roles will be surprised to find him in a much more melodramatic role, but his angry conscience and comedic aura aren't far away.
Nicholson plays Warren Schmidt, a 66-year-old Omaha insurance executive who's just retired from the company where he's spent his entire career. Now that he's retired, Warren sits at home and wastes his days watching TV, contemplating the feeling that he may have just lost out on some of the richest years of his life. Eventually, Warren enrolls in one of those Adopt a Child programs that they show during daytime television, urging you to spend only 20 cents a day to save a needy child overseas. After his wife (June Squibb) dies from a blood clot during an unfortunate comedic scene, he's placed into a world where he must now face the threat of taking care of himself. The only one he has left is his daughter Jeannie (Hope Davis), whom he rarely speaks to theses days and is engaged to marry a goof waterbed salesman (Dermot Mulroney) that he despises.
Nicholson shines once again in a part that was just waiting for his aging career. Serious and thoughtful, "About Schmidt" still boasts the wonderful but subtle comedy during his road trip in his gigantic Winnebago. Only through his letters to the young child from Tanzania do his true feelings sprout up, adding humor to the movie's quickening seriousness. Although "About Schmidt" isn't showing in many places, if you do get a chance to see it or you find that it's playing at a theater nearby, take the time to see a great film that will surely give Daniel Day-Lewis some competition for Best Actor accolades, along with a few more nods at the Oscars.