While confirming Jack Nicholson's status as an American national treasure, About Schmidt is sure to provoke polarized reactions. Stoked by the success of Election, director Alexander Payne and cowriter Jim Taylor have altered Louis Begley's novel to suit their comedic agenda, turning Nicholson's titular character into a 66-year-old, newly retired Omaha insurance actuary, weary from decades of drudgery and passionless marriage. When his wife suddenly dies, he attempts to reclaim his life in a king-sized Winnebago, desperate to convince his daughter (Hope Davis) not to marry the Denver dimwit (Dermot Mulroney) whose mother (Kathy Bates) has her own baggage of peculiar peccadilloes. Nicholson perfectly (and often hilariously) nails the seething anger beneath his character's façade of resignation, but Payne and Taylor convey cold-hearted contempt for these Midwestern malcontents. Think of this as Ikiru with bleaker humanity, until Schmidt finds meaning--and some small reward--in a quiet gesture of goodwill. Love it or hate it, About Schmidt is a movie you won't soon forget. --Jeff Shannon
You're making a big mistake, don't marry this guy, don't do it.
What are you talking about?
The other night I had a dream and it was very real. Your mother was there and you were there and your aunt Estelle. And there was a... well, it wasn't really a spaceship, it was more like a blimp or an orb of some kind. And then a bunch of weird creatures came out and started trying to take you away, and you wanna know what? They all looked like Randall. Do you understand? And I was jumping up and down to save you.
You already know how famously they get along as friends, but did you know that their sex life is positively white hot? The main reason both of my marriages failed was sexual. I'm an extremely sexual person, I can't help it, it just how I'm wired, you know, even when I was a little girl. I had my first orgasm when I was 6 in ballet class. Anyway, the point is that I have been always very easily aroused and very orgasmic, Jeannie and I have a lot in common that way. Clifford and Larry, they were nice guys, but they just could not keep up with me. Anyway, I don't want to betray Jeannie's confidence, but let me just assure you that whatever problems those two kids may run into along the way, they will always be able to count on what happens between the sheets to keep them together. More soup?
Eh... no, I think I'm fine now.
All of a sudden you're taking an interest in what I do? You have an opinion about my life *now*? Okay, you listen to me. I am getting married the day after tomorrow and you are going to come to my wedding and you are going to sit there and enjoy it and support me or else you can just turn right around right now and go back to Omaha.
Helen, what did you really think of me, deep in your heart? Was I really the man you wanted to be with? Was I? Or were you disappointed and too nice to show it? I forgive you for Ray. I forgive you. That was a long time ago, and I know I wasn't always the king of kings. I let you down. I'm sorry, Helen. Can you forgive me? Can you forgive me?