Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has arrived at several of life's crossroads all at the same time. To begin with, he is retiring from a lifetime of service as an actuary for Woodmen of the World Insurance Company, and he feels utterly adrift. Furthermore, his only daughter Jeannie (Hope Davis) is about to marry a boob. And his wife Helen (June Squibb) dies suddenly after 42 years of marriage.
"Jack Nicholson is great almost in spite of himself. You can see that he is keeping that great, lionised, heavy-lidded mask of a face under control and forcing from it new expressions. He has described this performance as the most lacking in egotism he has given. I’m not sure that’s exactly true, but his laconic description of Alexander Payne - “Boy’s got a mind of his own” - indicates that this was a much more insistent director than Nicholson is used to. Payne has dynamited the strata of mannerisms and crazy-laughing-man tics that have settled and solidified on Nicholson over the years and found something molten underneath". - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, Hope Davis