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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What's the story?
Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has coped with a life of disappointment and emptiness through rigidity. He is stingy with words, money, and emotion. He does not confide in anyone but viewers and a little boy in Africa he "adopted" by agreeing to send him $22 a month. Schmidt's daughter Jeannie (Hope Davis) is getting married to Randall, a man with a mullet who sells waterbeds (Dermot Mulroney), and this is just one more in a series of disappointments. When Schmidt's wife dies, and then when he finds out that she was keeping a secret from him, he becomes completely unstuck from his moorings. He takes the huge motor home his wife made him buy and sets off in it toward his daughter's house, intent on stopping the wedding.
Is it any good?
Nicholson is mesmerizing in ABOUT SCHMIDT. His character is funny, irritating, pitiable, and utterly heartbreaking. Kathy Bates, as Randall's mother, is magnificent in a performance that is full-bodied (in both senses of the word). The details of middle American ceremonies -- the retirement party, the funeral, the wedding -- are all just right, sharply observed but affectionate.
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