By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Heartfelt Nicholson, not for kids at all.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
A sad death of a spouse.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nudity and explicit sexual references.
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Very strong language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking, smoking, and drug use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the movie includes very strong language and sexual references and situations, including adultery. Characters drink and smoke. There are tense and sad family scenes that may upset some viewers.
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Where to Watch
Based on 2 parent reviews
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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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why Schmidt confided in a little boy he had never met instead of any of his friends or family. What do you think he will do next? What should he do? What should he have done that would have made him happier?
- In theaters: December 13, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: June 3, 2003
- Cast: Hope Davis, Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates
- Director: Alexander Payne
- Studio: New Line
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some language and brief nudity.
- Last updated: March 31, 2022
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Where to Watch
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