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With no job, no wife and no family, Warren is desperate to find something meaningful in his thoroughly unimpressive life. He sets out on a journey of self-discovery, exploring his roots across Nebraska in the 35-foot motor home in which he had planned to drive around the country with his late wife. His ultimate destination is Denver, where he hopes to bridge the gulf between himself and his somewhat estranged daughter by arriving early to help with her wedding preparations. Unfortunately, he hates the groom-to-be, Randall (Dermot Mulrooney - My Best Friends Wedding), a profoundly mediocre, underachieving waterbed salesman. To make matters worse, Warren is appalled by the free-spirited nature and boorish behaviour of his soon-to-be in-laws (Kathy Bates - The Waterboy, Titanic and Howard Hesseman - Gridlockd). Warren grows swiftly convinced that his new purpose in life is to stop his daughters marriage.
During this darkly comic and painful odyssey, Warren details his adventures and shares his observations with an unexpected new friend and confessor Ndugu Umbo, a six-year-old Tanzanian orphan whom he sponsors for $22 a month through an organization that advertises on TV. From these long letters filled with a lifetime of things unsaid, Warren begins perhaps for the first time to glimpse himself and the live he has lived.
Right, now that that rants off, I can tell you what a genuinely entertaining and enjoyable film "About Schmidt" is.
Warren Schmidt is a 66 year old insurance executive on the verge of retirement. We meet him on his last day in the office, clock-watching as the final few seconds click round until he is finally free from the drab enclosed box that his office looks like. However the joy and freedom of retirement that most of us look forward to is actually something of dread for Mr Schmidt. Waking up on his first day without work, he realises that he is without purpose in his life, he has nothing to do, and no-one cares whether he does it or not. His wife of 42 years annoys him in so many ways, his only daughter lives miles away in another state and seldom visits or seems to want to visit, and the company he loyally served for so many years is getting on seemingly very well without him. Cast adrift and aimless he is even more at a loss when his wife suddenly dies, leaving a huge void in his normal existence. His one solace and chance of expression are the heartfelt letters he writes to his sponsored foster child he has adopted through a charity in Tanzania.
However all is not lost.Read more ›
His life really begins when he retires, as a series of life jarring changes occur. His wife of forty two years, Helen (June Squibb), suddenly dies. She is a domineering woman whom he loved on some level but for whom he was unable to express much feeling while she was still living, even though there were many things about her that irritated him.
Their only child, Jeannie (Hope Davis), lives in Denver, Colorado and is about to get married to Randall Hertzel (Dermot Mulroney), a dimwitted, waterbed salesman whom Schmidt cannot abide. He learns some truths about the real status of his own relationship with his daughter, Jeannie, and it is not the idealized relationship that he thought he had. In fact, he learns just how disconnected he is from his daughter, who is really a veritable stranger to him, as was his wife. Moreover, not even his best friend, Ray (Lou Cariou), was whom Schmidt thought him to be.
When Schmidt travels to Colorado for the wedding, he stays with the groom's mother, Roberta Hertzel, a much married, earthy, and passionate divorcee, who is comfortable with herself and not afraid to express her feelings. She is a sort of flower child/earth mother holdover from the late nineteen sixties, early seventies.Read more ›