User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 174 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 43 out of 174
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  1. JamesS.
    Jan 7, 2003
    10
    I really don't know what the people who said it was "smug" and "made for urban audiences" were talking about. The film is directed by Alexander Payne - who happens to be FROM Nebraska and sets all his films there. But, that aside, this film is utter astounding. From the acting - Nicholson's best work EVER - to the writing - one of the most bitingly hilarious and heartbreaking I really don't know what the people who said it was "smug" and "made for urban audiences" were talking about. The film is directed by Alexander Payne - who happens to be FROM Nebraska and sets all his films there. But, that aside, this film is utter astounding. From the acting - Nicholson's best work EVER - to the writing - one of the most bitingly hilarious and heartbreaking scripts I've ever seen put to film - this film is utterly brilliant. I've very rarely cared about the characters in a film as much as I did for Warren Schmidt and his family. There's never a false step here and it's wonderful to see that critics and audiences are taking notice. Expand
  2. RandyG.
    Jan 13, 2003
    1
    I cannot believe some of these rave reviews. Absolutely very slow uninteresting story. Yes Jack Nicholson can act, but is this a new revelation so as to make a movie entertaining? There aren't any redeeming qualities about this tedious boring film. Go if you must but you have been advised.
  3. MikeR.
    Jan 5, 2003
    10
    Truly captured all of the humor, frustration, triump, and sadness of human existance.
  4. RaggazzaC.
    Jan 6, 2003
    0
    What a long, boring tedious film. Unattractive people in a totally uninteresting story. l always stay until the end....this time it was too painful.I walked out! Don't say i didn't warn you.
  5. RobertH.
    Jan 7, 2003
    0
    We all know that JN and KB are very likeable and can act. That does not make for an automatic great movie. DULL is the best word to describe this drek. Avoid at all costs.
  6. AdamE.
    Mar 12, 2003
    9
    Excellent, touching and hilarious. Jack still has it!
  7. LassiterP.
    Mar 22, 2003
    0
    One of the most boring movies I have ever seen? It is similar to Seinfeld in that it is a flick about nothing, but at least Seinfeld was funny. About Schmidt is absolutely terrible.
  8. JohnS.
    Jul 5, 2003
    3
    A real sleeper definitely not a keeper.
  9. LouisP.
    Jan 11, 2003
    10
    This is an incredible film. The performances are excellent and memorable. This kind of film doesn't come along very often. It is a pity that so much quality is wasted on the "critiques" below.
  10. PatC.
    Dec 5, 2003
    8
    Way to go, Jack! Such realism, plus an expose of the trailer-park-trash pretensions common in American society. Underneath our pathetic veneers are genuine noble traits struggling to get out.
  11. CherylC.
    Jan 4, 2003
    5
    We've all seen Nicholson do as well or better in other roles, and there have been far superior examples of the "what's it all about" theme. In the end, I couldn't think of any compelling reason to recommend this movie to anyone. I think Charles Taylor at Salon hit the movie dead-on, and was pleased to see his comments about some of cinema's other leading lights. Why We've all seen Nicholson do as well or better in other roles, and there have been far superior examples of the "what's it all about" theme. In the end, I couldn't think of any compelling reason to recommend this movie to anyone. I think Charles Taylor at Salon hit the movie dead-on, and was pleased to see his comments about some of cinema's other leading lights. Why do so many artists--in all genres--think that being exceedingly clever and smug is what makes good art? More importantly, perhaps, why are there so many immature minds ready to accept that bogus notion? Expand
  12. ChadS.
    Jan 5, 2003
    8
    Jack Nicholson in a trailer park alone is worth the price of admission. Armed with a six-pack, he crosses the vicinity to reach another winnebago where a pot of beef stew awaits him, and for the first time since "Chinatown" perhaps, the actor disappears behind his character. Midwesteners may feel they're being made fun of, but what's worse, I think, is how the crowd laughed each Jack Nicholson in a trailer park alone is worth the price of admission. Armed with a six-pack, he crosses the vicinity to reach another winnebago where a pot of beef stew awaits him, and for the first time since "Chinatown" perhaps, the actor disappears behind his character. Midwesteners may feel they're being made fun of, but what's worse, I think, is how the crowd laughed each time Nicholson says the African boy's name. In "Election", the voices in Reese Witherspoon's head when she gets mad sound like African tribesman at war, so perhaps, this is a Payne motif. Expand
  13. FantasyL.
    Jan 7, 2003
    0
    Let me preface my score by stating that I am big fan of both Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates. They are among the elite actors of our generation! Having said that, "About Schmidt" is a pretentious, boring, tedious, slow developing saga of a midwestener who wakes up at age 67 and discovers that he has no purpose in life. Even the county scenery as he drives through middle America is flat and Let me preface my score by stating that I am big fan of both Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates. They are among the elite actors of our generation! Having said that, "About Schmidt" is a pretentious, boring, tedious, slow developing saga of a midwestener who wakes up at age 67 and discovers that he has no purpose in life. Even the county scenery as he drives through middle America is flat and uninspiring. As a moviegoer, I go to the movies to be entertained. There is none here! Just a overrated film by the professional critics that is not worthy of your time or money. Expand
  14. LassisterP.
    Jan 7, 2003
    1
    Kathy Bates nude is all I could take. I walked out at that point. This is dull boring movie about nothing that is so slooooow.
  15. IggyZ.
    Jan 7, 2003
    3
    If I never see or hear another professional opinion again that would be fine by me. Schmidt is a horribly overrated film that is so slow in developing that I actually had trouble keeping my eyes open. It is as boring as the character's life Nicholson portrays. Rent it if you must watch this garbage.
  16. JanetS.
    Jan 9, 2003
    0
    So uninteresting, so boring, and so slow that I fell asleep in the theater. You have been warned.
  17. GrimReaper
    Mar 10, 2003
    0
    One of the most boring films ever made. Way overrated. So Jack Nicholson can act, you think? We already know that. I'm sorry but watching Jack tinkle in the toilet is not my cup of tea and Kathy Bates nude, please! Don't waste your money.
  18. SamB.
    Mar 1, 2003
    10
    This movie is so great because it tries to steer clear of the glitz and glamour of hollywood and just sticks to being itself. this movie is fantastic.
  19. LarryG.
    Mar 26, 2003
    2
    I went to see About Schmidt because it would appear that the Metacritic reviewers either loved or hated it. Jack is fantastic but the subject matter is too slow moving and uninteresting. I had all that I could do to stay awake and watch. Just not my cup of tea.
  20. Jackrabbit
    Apr 13, 2003
    0
    Horrible horrible horrible.
  21. StephenT.
    Apr 14, 2003
    0
    After watching this simplistic boring movie, I believe that Elliot is in need of Anger Management. Without a doubt About Schmidt is a movie about nothing without any redeeming feature. Kathy Bates nude in a hot tub? I will have nightmares for a long time. Pleeeezzzze?
  22. Aaron
    Apr 1, 2003
    1
    If you like bathroom humor about Jack tinkling, or Kathy Bates walking into a hot tub bearing it all (a horrible sight), then About Schmidt is for you. Otherwise is it just a boring film about nothing.
  23. HarleyD.
    Apr 17, 2003
    0
    Possibly one of the most boring unflattering movies ever made. It depicts life in the midwest as dull, prosaic and not worth living. Having come from the midwest nothing could be further from the truth. This movie is a lie and absolute bore.
  24. DelroyT.
    May 20, 2003
    0
    Possibly one of the most overrated movies I have ever seen. Painfully slow, boring and dreadful.
  25. JeffB.
    Jun 15, 2003
    1
    This is the movie that keeps you watching because you are sure it will become very interesting during the next scene. Trouble is it never does. Nicholson is once again the same character, with the same expressions, as always (with the exception of The Shining, only after he turns). Boring and barely watchable, don't become stuck waiting for the movie to turn into a great comment on This is the movie that keeps you watching because you are sure it will become very interesting during the next scene. Trouble is it never does. Nicholson is once again the same character, with the same expressions, as always (with the exception of The Shining, only after he turns). Boring and barely watchable, don't become stuck waiting for the movie to turn into a great comment on life - it doesn't. Expand
  26. JasonZ.
    Jun 7, 2003
    6
    Not awful, but not Oscar worthy either. Nicholson was just okay. The characters were rich and the cynicism at times hilarious, but overall, the pace of the film is its fatal flaw. Isn't this just one long commercial for the Sally Struthers-like philanthropical organizations? Plus, this film is indeed truthful (read: depressing as hell). Anyone of the cusp of a mid-life crisis should Not awful, but not Oscar worthy either. Nicholson was just okay. The characters were rich and the cynicism at times hilarious, but overall, the pace of the film is its fatal flaw. Isn't this just one long commercial for the Sally Struthers-like philanthropical organizations? Plus, this film is indeed truthful (read: depressing as hell). Anyone of the cusp of a mid-life crisis should think twice about watching this one or at least remove all sharp objects before viewing. Funniest part of this one ... Nicholson doing errands in the RV. That killed me! Collapse
  27. AlS.
    Jul 1, 2003
    0
    I'm all for realism and I don't mind slow moving films, but this went no where. My wife fell asleep and I couldn't even finish the film.
  28. Romanski
    Sep 6, 2003
    10
    One word: MASTERPIECE!
  29. MichaelM.
    Oct 23, 2004
    10
    What can I say? The film is wonderful. The writing is good, the directing is good, and the acting is top-notch! Jack Nicholson gives his best performance to date as a sad widower living alone for the first time in his life, and visiting around the U.S. in his top-of-the-line R.V. Another great performance is given by Oscar winner Kathy Bates. She plays the mother of a sleazy, Joe What can I say? The film is wonderful. The writing is good, the directing is good, and the acting is top-notch! Jack Nicholson gives his best performance to date as a sad widower living alone for the first time in his life, and visiting around the U.S. in his top-of-the-line R.V. Another great performance is given by Oscar winner Kathy Bates. She plays the mother of a sleazy, Joe Dirt-like waterbed salesman who is marrying Jack Nicholson's daughter. I think Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates should win Academy Awards for their roles. (1/23/03) Expand
  30. WilliamK
    Jan 11, 2006
    10
    Out of the despair of a life of disposable accomplishments and artificial emotion, in the end all that remains is faith, hope and love.
  31. SteveC
    Dec 20, 2006
    10
    This movie is so special becuase it does not insult your intelligence. Please be careful- it's not Ricky Bobby or Adam Sandler. Don't see it if you are looking for mindless entertainment. You won't like it. As far as the point of the movie, I'd say it is summed up by Thoreau "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation."
  32. TonyB.
    Apr 28, 2006
    10
    This movie reaked of excellence. The way this film was written the directing the acting the story. However it may not appeal to everyone because it has the tendancy to lag at points,however for me i found it very entertaining, well written, and very sad.
  33. KennyM.
    Mar 28, 2008
    10
    Incredibly funny and sad.
  34. JanaC.
    Jan 10, 2003
    10
    The film is astounding. From the stark Nebraska landscape to the reality of growing old in the American culture; it gives us a look at the dream or the reality. It is rich and thought provoking and it speaks to the classic dysfunctional family.
  35. JamesL.
    Jan 15, 2003
    3
    Until I saw "Adaptation," I thought this was the most overrated movie of the year. Nichelson's facial expressions were not enough to hide the blandness, boredom, and disappointment that he must have felt for being involved in this rv trip to nowhere. Tragic is correct in that it is tragic that the critics sell us on this movie!
  36. JulianR.
    Oct 30, 2003
    0
    This is probably the worst film I have ever watched. Its too long, its crap, the acting's crap, the story has no meaning, and its crap. It too slow and I cannot see anyone enjoying it. I bought it because of the reviews and stuff and it was cheap it was 2 for a 10er but I really regret it. Whoever made it should get a life because it was appauling, he should give up his job cause hes This is probably the worst film I have ever watched. Its too long, its crap, the acting's crap, the story has no meaning, and its crap. It too slow and I cannot see anyone enjoying it. I bought it because of the reviews and stuff and it was cheap it was 2 for a 10er but I really regret it. Whoever made it should get a life because it was appauling, he should give up his job cause hes going no where. I cant see how this movie was commedy it was just a movie about some sad guy witha miserable life. I felt sorry for him, didnt think it was funny at all. yeah thats about it thats why i give it a 0. Expand
  37. RyanM.
    Feb 16, 2003
    10
    A movie that can deal with itself without covering up, it doesn't try to say "This isn't us--we're just making a movie about it". This idea is put in your face to relate to, and you do.
  38. KenQ.
    Feb 18, 2003
    7
    Overall, I enjoyed this. There were times when the film lagged a bit, but the writing more than made up for it. Kathy Bates naked was a bit disconcerting, but her performance overall was one of the best of her career. Comic? Yes. Tragic? Definitely. Drek? I don't see it.
  39. GypsyL.
    Mar 17, 2003
    0
    Adam, Jack might still have it, but the rest of this movie passed away while it was being made. Watching Jack pee and seeing Kathy Bates nude is more than I need to know. In one word...Booooring!
  40. AndrewJ.
    Mar 19, 2003
    10
    About Shmidt is an eerily acurate depiction of a retirement age widower living alone in the midwest. Being originally from the area I have known people just like Warren and found many of the small scenes such as the retirement party the most amusing because of the smallest details right down to the Drake University degree of Schmidt's replacement. This is one of Nicholson's best About Shmidt is an eerily acurate depiction of a retirement age widower living alone in the midwest. Being originally from the area I have known people just like Warren and found many of the small scenes such as the retirement party the most amusing because of the smallest details right down to the Drake University degree of Schmidt's replacement. This is one of Nicholson's best performanes ever. The fact that he is able to hold himself back from the frequent bouts of overacting that have hit his career is just a tribute to how great he can be, given the right script. Expand
  41. JaredH.
    Mar 20, 2003
    0
    Absolutely dull boring movie that paints middle America in a very bad light. So Jack can act? It still doesn't make up for a trailer trash movie.
  42. Warren
    Mar 23, 2003
    1
    Jack Nicholson is marvelous. As for the movie this was not entertainment in any way. Horribly dull. I had all that I could do to stay awake. Life in middle America cannot be this mundane?
  43. Elliott
    Apr 10, 2003
    10
    Remarkable in every aspect. Superbly acted, cleverly realized, and brilliantly written. I loved, loved, loved it. One of the very best films of the year - I promise you. I don't know what a lot of these other viewers saw, but I swear it must be another movie. I thought it flew by and I have seen it several times. About Schmidt is truly a wonderful film.
  44. YamahaW.
    Apr 14, 2003
    10
    One of the best films of last year. The most truthful movie to come out in a while, probably a good reason why people don't like it so much. Sorry, no escapism here.
  45. DelvinD.
    Apr 24, 2003
    10
    How can you trust professional critics after watching this boring turkey? Simply awful!
  46. JackieS.
    Apr 7, 2003
    0
    What the hell was About Schmidt about. Can you spell dull and boring?
  47. JanetaS.
    Apr 8, 2003
    0
    This was the worst most boring movie I have ever seen. I want a refund.
  48. SamP.
    Jul 9, 2003
    10
    Great movie!!!! Must see!!!! Great performances.
  49. CodyM.
    Jan 29, 2004
    6
    Good story, but the film stays superficial as the life of his character does.
  50. AnshumanV.
    Oct 5, 2004
    10
    Jack Nicholson is god.
  51. GaborA.
    Jun 6, 2004
    6
    No plot, no point, and not all that funny, but for some reason i watched with relative ease and ultimately enjoyment.
  52. GerardM.
    Jul 22, 2004
    9
    Although Emma Kenny Dislikes this Film, I find that this movie is both painfully poignent while allowing for comic genuis. The film is beautifully shot which enhances the emotional explosion that is occuring in the main character. There is a feeling of impending doom that actually adds to the comedic value. However, as most great films do, About Schmitd leaves you feeling complete. This Although Emma Kenny Dislikes this Film, I find that this movie is both painfully poignent while allowing for comic genuis. The film is beautifully shot which enhances the emotional explosion that is occuring in the main character. There is a feeling of impending doom that actually adds to the comedic value. However, as most great films do, About Schmitd leaves you feeling complete. This Film develops a story and follows through, which is so rare nowadays. Expand
  53. JaysonB.
    Apr 8, 2005
    8
    Nicolson is a great actor, and as an OCD sufferer myself, I have to say his acting was accurate as well. A fun movie besides.
  54. GaryJ.
    May 22, 2005
    9
    Nicholson and Bates deliver with excellent performances. Nicholson's facial control and steadfast delivery reign supreme. Bates' outrageous but deeply suburban character is almost flawless.
  55. J.RyanG.
    May 26, 2005
    5
    Stanley Kauffmann's positive review is permissable, as he is a big Nicholson fan. Me too. But this movie ultimately fails. I have no idea what it is trying to say: Live for today!? No, there's not much indication of that message. Believe in love? Since potential relationships do not blossom for Nicholson, and since his family appears to be permanently distant, I don't find Stanley Kauffmann's positive review is permissable, as he is a big Nicholson fan. Me too. But this movie ultimately fails. I have no idea what it is trying to say: Live for today!? No, there's not much indication of that message. Believe in love? Since potential relationships do not blossom for Nicholson, and since his family appears to be permanently distant, I don't find this message ringing true. This film clearly inhabits spaces of some distance apart, but alas, it goes nowhere. The best thing I can say about the film--other than praising fine performances by Nicholson and the underused Kathy Bates--is that it revolves around a boring road trip with a few fleeting thrills, appropriate for the life of the main character. Expand
  56. RobR.
    Aug 5, 2005
    10
    Anyone who thinks the movie was "too slow" must have a short attention span. The opening scene should have been a warning to you that this was not going to be a "quick fire" comedy. If you want cheap, quick laughs, go rent an Adam Sandler movie. If you want a genuinely funny laugh-a-minute movie, go rent Airplane! About Schmidt is so far above and beyond either of those. It's both Anyone who thinks the movie was "too slow" must have a short attention span. The opening scene should have been a warning to you that this was not going to be a "quick fire" comedy. If you want cheap, quick laughs, go rent an Adam Sandler movie. If you want a genuinely funny laugh-a-minute movie, go rent Airplane! About Schmidt is so far above and beyond either of those. It's both sincere and sarcastic, both funny and serious, but utlimately, it is intelligent and honest. It is as original and compelling as any film I have ever seen. The direction is masterful. Jack Nicholson shines, and none of the others let the film down even one bit. Expand
  57. SimonS.
    Dec 5, 2007
    10
    Great, touching movie. I'm now a huge fan of Alexander Payne. Election is also great and of course Sideways. Even his short in Paris J'taime was soo well done.
  58. Nada
    Dec 16, 2002
    10
    Nicholson has never been better, with Kathy Bates a close second for a pitch-perfect performance. It makes you laugh, it makes you sad about the all to true human condition.
  59. BlancoA.
    Dec 16, 2002
    8
    Jack does a pretty amazing job with his role. The story felt incredibly real, more than anything else. Don't go in expecting a bunch of "fun" Jack antics, though. Simply excellent acting.
  60. NoahS.
    Dec 23, 2002
    3
    Condescending and awful. the characters are all caricatures of "midwestern types" played for laughs to self-satisfied, superior, smug urban audiences. not one thing here is real and the entire experience, especially the audiences snarky laughter was just plain depressing.
  61. [Anonymous]
    Dec 26, 2002
    4
    I am a big fan of Alexander Payne. Election, in my opinion, is one of the best movies I've seen. Nevertheless, I think Charles Taylor from Salon.com wrote an exemplary piece of movie criticism on this movie. I agree with every word he wrote and especially regarding the performance of Nicholson and the inability of many critics to notice how condescending and even hateful Payne is to I am a big fan of Alexander Payne. Election, in my opinion, is one of the best movies I've seen. Nevertheless, I think Charles Taylor from Salon.com wrote an exemplary piece of movie criticism on this movie. I agree with every word he wrote and especially regarding the performance of Nicholson and the inability of many critics to notice how condescending and even hateful Payne is to his characters in this movie. Expand
  62. JohnnaZ.
    Mar 11, 2003
    0
    The answer to insomnia? About Schmidt. Absolutely lame.
  63. GabrielP.
    Mar 17, 2003
    10
    Honest to God Nickolson, honest to God American, honest to God universal.
  64. Apple
    Mar 22, 2003
    0
    This is pure trailer trash without any redeeming characters. If this represents life in the midwest, I hope that I am never transferred there as I would seriously consider suicide. The only thing that could have saved this movie is if someone had called Dr. Kerovkian before this movie was released. Boooorrrrrring!
  65. RayL.
    Mar 24, 2003
    0
    After watching AS I think that Chinese Water Torture dripping on my head might be more fun? I would rather go to the dentist then be subjected to watching this tedious dull film again. Who writes this crap?
  66. JustinP.
    Mar 25, 2003
    9
    A chillingly and brilliantly convincing portrait of an aging man's confrontation with his life. Genius performance by Nicholson, but the movie is bolstered by the shockingly real characters that surround him. Simultaneously hilarious, profound, ironic and sincere, light and serious, like life itself. Too much has been made of Nicholson's great performance, and of the A chillingly and brilliantly convincing portrait of an aging man's confrontation with his life. Genius performance by Nicholson, but the movie is bolstered by the shockingly real characters that surround him. Simultaneously hilarious, profound, ironic and sincere, light and serious, like life itself. Too much has been made of Nicholson's great performance, and of the movie's Midwestern setting. This is not just a showcase for the star or a regional portrait. It is a masterful movie about life with characters so real it is mesmerizing. Strikes true notes from beginning to end. Never has to abandon its realistic tone in order to grip you, reminding you that the small dramas of real people are more poignant than the unusual. An unusual work of genius that inspires faith in the movies. Expand
  67. Wanda
    Mar 29, 2003
    0
    Aboout Schmidt = Tedius boredom.
  68. DavidK.
    Apr 11, 2003
    0
    Elliot, phone home. You have watched moss grow on a rock one too many times. Without a doubt the most boring movie ever made. I would rather have bamboo shoots placed under my nails then watch that crap again.
  69. C.B.
    Jun 22, 2003
    8
    Very good movie. Much more than the sum of its parts. This movie has a lot to say, it just doesnt slap it across your face. Too bad it didnt have explosions or young attractive people. Who wants to see a movie based on reality? I'd rather see From Justin to Kelly. Now theres a real movie.
  70. James
    Jun 29, 2003
    9
    It's a thinky. You have to credit it at least a 5 for that, if you've rated lower then you've missed all the subtext and the meaning of the film. It's supposed to make you think, and out of all the films i've seen this year this is one of the only ones that stuck with me. The soundtrack was excellent, by Rolfe Kent.
  71. Jeremy
    Sep 29, 2003
    8
    One of Jack Nicholson's very best performances, as he is able to succesfully grace the line between comedy and sadness.
  72. FernandoG.
    Jan 29, 2004
    10
    Roger Ebert said in his review that teenagers wouldn't really be drawn to this movie, me being 15 I wasn't. But when i started watching it i couldn't stop, definitely got me thinking about life. To bad my grades still suck though.
  73. Raab
    Mar 14, 2004
    10
    Anyone who watches this looking for a typical Jack Nicholson vehicle will be disappointed, so I'm not surprised by the varied opinions. Personally, I was blown away by Jack's performance. It's like he decided with this movie to show us what made him famous in the first place. He carries the movie with that and as a result the whole thing is brilliant. The final scene -- Anyone who watches this looking for a typical Jack Nicholson vehicle will be disappointed, so I'm not surprised by the varied opinions. Personally, I was blown away by Jack's performance. It's like he decided with this movie to show us what made him famous in the first place. He carries the movie with that and as a result the whole thing is brilliant. The final scene -- absolute genius. Expand
  74. TimD.
    Jun 25, 2004
    8
    Not quite on the scale of Chinatown, Ironweed and Cuckoo's Nest, but still strong stuff. Nicholson continues to impress.
  75. morris
    Sep 21, 2004
    5
    I cannot understand why this film got such good reviews? Because it is slow? Because of Jack's performance? I found it decidedly average, with but a glimmer of spark in Kathy Bate's wonderful performance. A real damp squib, with the sentimental letters hardly proving the uplifting ingrediant it so wanted to be.
  76. MIkeG.
    Dec 7, 2005
    3
    This is a movie that failed to mix the funny scenes and the serious scenes well. The funny scenes were certainly funny, and Nichollson's delivery is certainly dead on. But the supposedly poignant scenes are greatly blunted by the way this movie is paced. Is Payne making fun of these characters or does he want you to embrace them? It's unclear, and the result is a film that left This is a movie that failed to mix the funny scenes and the serious scenes well. The funny scenes were certainly funny, and Nichollson's delivery is certainly dead on. But the supposedly poignant scenes are greatly blunted by the way this movie is paced. Is Payne making fun of these characters or does he want you to embrace them? It's unclear, and the result is a film that left me feeling dissatisfied with the results, unconcerned about what would happen to any of the characters, and not invested in the performances. The movie also really doesn't have an ending for Schmidt - he's just kind of an afterthought that gets lost in the Davis/Mulroney storyline. Expand
  77. RickS.
    Jul 18, 2005
    10
    Brilliant performance by Nicholson, brilliant writing and direction by Payne. A masterpiece in its portrayal of American life.
  78. MarcK.
    Dec 13, 2002
    5
    I fail to understand the raves that Nicholson is getting for his understated performance. Perhaps this is a film for people who dislike Nicholson in his other, more expressive roles. Ditto Kathy Bates' performance, which is being lauded for an Oscar, and I just don't see it at all. In terms of the movie, the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the picture is slow and pointless. It all gets I fail to understand the raves that Nicholson is getting for his understated performance. Perhaps this is a film for people who dislike Nicholson in his other, more expressive roles. Ditto Kathy Bates' performance, which is being lauded for an Oscar, and I just don't see it at all. In terms of the movie, the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the picture is slow and pointless. It all gets wrapped together at the end, but does that make it a "must-see" film? I think not. Expand
  79. Dec 24, 2010
    9
    I think to fully appreciate About Schmidt we have to first view it as a drama, then as a comedy. It excels at both heartbreak and humor, but when you get down to it, you are given a great theme (not given away too easily as to be a cliche; some of the humor is, though), compelling and interesting characters acted pitch perfectly and a quite original plot line. Awesome screenplay and anI think to fully appreciate About Schmidt we have to first view it as a drama, then as a comedy. It excels at both heartbreak and humor, but when you get down to it, you are given a great theme (not given away too easily as to be a cliche; some of the humor is, though), compelling and interesting characters acted pitch perfectly and a quite original plot line. Awesome screenplay and an awesome movie overall. Expand
  80. Jun 10, 2012
    10
    This is a great movie, i loved jack nicholson´s performance as i always do, it is very sentimental and good, one of my favorite movies from nicholson, i really recomend it
  81. Jun 10, 2012
    10
    I just love this! Jack Nicholson is my all time favorite actor. He plays so well all of his roles in every movie he does, great movie, it is really sad
  82. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    Jack Nicholson gives a truly dynamic performance as the titular character in Alexander Payne's poignant, clever, and idyllic dramedy.
  83. Aug 12, 2014
    9
    Of retirement, of loss, of soul-searching. Of life. Alexander Payne creates the most natural films films can produce. This, is what should have been Jack Nicholson's most deserving Oscar. He pulls himself away from his cocky, intimidating and sometimes arrogant charm that he has added to so many of his movies, and has given us a truly human role: a man with limits, faults, and weakness'.Of retirement, of loss, of soul-searching. Of life. Alexander Payne creates the most natural films films can produce. This, is what should have been Jack Nicholson's most deserving Oscar. He pulls himself away from his cocky, intimidating and sometimes arrogant charm that he has added to so many of his movies, and has given us a truly human role: a man with limits, faults, and weakness'. Kathy Bates makes you want to piss your pants, so to speak. The film is great. Jack Nicholson: so amazing it's surreal. Expand
  84. Jan 17, 2014
    9
    I loved seeing this at the theatres when it was released. At the time I hadn't seen anything by Alexander Payne, but made a mental note that I'd keep an eye on his work, and with good reason. Nicholson was excellent as I had come to expect, the writing was exemplary, Bates was hilarious and the ending was very poignant: I was quite surprised it didn't get any Oscars, though it achievedI loved seeing this at the theatres when it was released. At the time I hadn't seen anything by Alexander Payne, but made a mental note that I'd keep an eye on his work, and with good reason. Nicholson was excellent as I had come to expect, the writing was exemplary, Bates was hilarious and the ending was very poignant: I was quite surprised it didn't get any Oscars, though it achieved other merits. Expand
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. A dark comedy that's as emotionally honest as any picture of 2002.
  2. Much more deserving of plaudits is the secondary cast--Hope Davis as Schmidt's resentful daughter, Dermot Mulroney as the waterbed salesman she's engaged to, and, above all, Kathy Bates in a hilarious turn as the latter's New Age mother.
  3. 50
    Starts out as a barbed, poignant little movie and turns into an excruciating slow-motion car wreck.