|New Line Cinema | Release Date: December 13, 2002||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
A comedy poised on the knife's edge of tragedy, the film is a gutsy, truthful, deeply rooted vision of contemporary American life, scaled to the size of an ordinary man. It's a humanist triumph strip-mined of bathos and confirmation that, after directing just three features, Payne has become the most gifted comic social satirist to hit our movies since Preston Sturges. Read full review
Nicholson makes the movie so poignant that it's hard to resist, but I wonder if Payne and Taylor are rejecting the skeptical attitudes of their other films to become more popular, hoping a softer emotional tone will help this picture win the Oscars that have eluded their more tough-minded works. Read full review
The pathos of About Schmidt -- of the careful, Chekhovian work that it could have been --gradually slides away. [16 December 2002, p. 106]
This ambitious, entertaining movie, which showed at film festivals earlier this year, has been hailed in some quarters as a masterpiece worthy of Arthur Miller's Willy Loman or Sinclair Lewis's George Babbitt. Yet its social comments are stained by condescension, and its uplift is sustained by sentimentality that Mr. Nicholson's prickly Everyman can't conceal.
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