Year: 2002
USA: New Line Cinema
UK: Entertainment Film Distributors
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, June Squibb, Kathy Bates, Howard Hesseman, Christine Belford, Tom Belford, Beverly Boe, Robert Boe, Len Cariou, James Crawley, Josh Geller, Cheryl Hamada, Judith Hart, Tung Ha, Steve Heller, Chris Huse, Jim Kay, Debra Kem, Robert Kem, Robert A Kern, Marilyn Tipp, Mark Venhuizen, Mike Whitney
Director: Alexander Payne
Country: USA
USA: 124 mins
UK: 125 mins
USA Rated: R for some language and brief nudity
UK Certificate: 15 contains infrequent strong language
USA Release Date: 3 January 2003
USA Release Date: 20 December 2002 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 13 December 2002 (Limited Release - Los Angeles, New York and Omaha)
UK Release Date: 24 January 2003


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.

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 Mulroney), a profoundly mediocre, underachieving waterbed salesman. To make matters worse, Warren is appalled by the free-spirited nature and boorish behavior of his soon-to-be in-laws (Kathy Bates and Howard Hesseman). Warren grows swiftly convinced that his new purpose in life is to stop his daughter's 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 life he has lived.