Sunday, September 05, 2010
About Schmidt (2002)
I’ve always heard off About Schmidt. There’ll be like some movie buffs discussing some dark comedy or drama about someone suffering from some mid-life crisis and they’ll go “yeah, it’s no About Schmidt. That movie was good”. Or something along those lines. So the movie has always been one of the movies to watch for me…which I finally did recently.
Let’s start with what I found interesting. Jack Nicholson finally playing a regular man his age! I mean really, all I’ve seen him play are some larger than life characters…there was a mob boss, a mental patient, a crazy guy trying to kill his family in a hotel, the Joker and a string of others. But here he finally plays a normal 60 plus year old guy, who just retired and experiencing a mid life oh well maybe end of life crisis…yes a boring normal guy. And guess what…his wife in the movie is a 60 plus year old woman. I mean what a shocker! So different from what we’re so used to seeing him with. Which usually is a younger woman, usually 20 years his junior in reel and real life too right.
I guess the part I like about the movie is that it shows a slice of middle America, without glossifying it. People don’t walk out of their house looking like they stepped out of Vogue right? And there can’t always be some high drama right? Life can be lonely, hard and unremarkable, that's what Schmidt is about to realize the first days of his retirement. It’s nice to sometime see it portrayed without a myriad of embellishments.
But this is a dark comedy of sorts about an old depressed guy, so we do get the usual odd bunch of characters. From the dim witted Randall, Schmidt’s future son in law, to the hippie mother earth type of character, Roberta, Randall’s mother. But somehow I felt that most of the characters all felt dull, they felt monotonous without any colour and as if trapped in some forgotten time…a bit like those in Napoleon Dynamite I thought. I guess all this was intentional…to illustrate the way Schmidt was unable to connect with any of them. But like Napoleon Dynamite I didn’t like any of it.
Suffice to say. I didn’t enjoy the movie. I think I understood what it was trying to put across mostly. Schmidt’s inability to connect with the people around him, the emptiness he felt and how he saw his life has amounted to nothing, until near the end at least, where he breaks down when he finally realize that he had undoubtedly made a difference to one life. But I hardly found any bit of the movie funny…even though it’s suppose to be a comedy of sorts…dark comedy at the very least. They only hit the depressing mark for me. And so dull is the word for this movie overall.