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Overall Rating
3.73

Awesome36.27%
Worth A Look: 28.43%
Average: 18.63%
Pretty Bad: 4.9%
Total Crap: 11.76%

3 reviews, 84 user ratings


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As Good As It Gets
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by Ryan Arthur

"People who talk in metaphors should have to shampoo my crotch."
3 stars

I'm drowning here, and you're describing the water!

Here's the thing about Jim Brooks: he can do wonders with really original characters. He can, and he has. Just rent Broadcast News or Terms Of Endearment. He gets a chance to do it again here, but for some reason, it doesn't really seem to work.

Why is that?

Because you have a plot that's so conventional, so obviously driven towards it's happy ending, that you get the feel that each character is being forced to follow that path. You want to think that maybe this movie will be about how lonely Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) really is, or even just a simple "old man who turns out to have a heart of gold," like another modern day Scrooge type. But it doesn't. It goes with the old familiar, the safe and sane, and really good performances are stuck.

Let me say that again: really good performances are stuck. Specifically Nicholson. Yes, he may be doing his same old thing, being Jack, but there's more here to Melvin. Was it worthy of an Oscar? Probably not. I think Robert Duvall got robbed by sentimentality. But it is the role of Nicholson's career, and he does go all out with it. Greg Kinnear also does extremely well here as Melvin's gay neighbor Simon, who gets beaten up. Melvin then has to take care of Simon's dog, falls for it, then of course changes from the guy who hates everyone to the guy who wins everyone over. It's contrived, and you see it coming. I was less impressed with Helen Hunt's performance (certainly not Oscar worthy), although it's light years ahead of what she does on Mad About You, where she's stuck letting Paul Reiser have all the jokes.

That's not to say it's a horrible movie, you just should see it for what it is.

How can you diagnose someone as having obsessive-compulsive disorder and yet criticize him for not making an appointment?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=451&reviewer=7
originally posted: 10/29/98 01:34:24
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
2/18/14 Simon Sincere & affecting; people don't talk like this but thats what makes Brooks' writing grea 5 stars
11/09/10 the dork knight Hard to swallow Jack hooking up with a hottie a fraction of his age. Otherwise, spledid. 5 stars
4/08/10 PAUL SHORTT SUPERB, IF SOUR-TONED COMEDY WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES 4 stars
6/25/09 Monday Morning One of the best - funny, touching, smart, memorable. Perfect! 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies Helen Hunt ruined this movie for me. 3 stars
1/01/08 Total Crap One of my all time favs. 5 STARS! 5 stars
11/09/07 R.W. Welch Nobody does ornery as well as Nicholson. 4 stars
8/23/07 Quigley Jack Nicholson is one of the greatest actors of all freakin' time. 4 stars
6/09/07 rachel in my list of to 5 stars
6/01/07 ES One of the best movies ever made. 5 stars
4/23/07 Chris Redmond Impeccably performed. Who's this twat Grunter who says Jack should learn to act. Moron. 4 stars
1/31/07 David Cohen I liked it 4 stars
12/28/06 Agent Sands Hunt stands out almost as far as Nicholson, a feat difficult to accomplish. 5 stars
6/18/06 chienne Yep, Helen Hunt doing her best Bitch Supreme AGAIN!!! 3 stars
5/13/05 Indrid Cold Forced attempt at recreating Jerry Maguire's magic. Jack+Helen are not a good couple. 3 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig It really is as good as it gets..at least from Hollywood anyway 5 stars
12/25/04 Red Sox Still Suck Made me wish I'd poked my eyes out with a fork 1 stars
12/10/04 Kristina Williams funny in a nasty way. My kind of movie. 5 stars
10/26/04 John efeective and entertaining drama slightly overrated but good 4 stars
9/04/04 T.B. Less All right 3 stars
4/22/04 Karin Phaneuf Hysterical, Real, Wonderful! 5 stars
9/30/03 Darryl One of the best comedies of the 90's. Or any decade for that matter. 5 stars
7/12/03 Farnq Y what is it about Jack and waitresses? (see 5 easy pieces etc) 4 stars
6/09/03 The Chronic Brilliant. One of Nicholsons best. 5 stars
5/24/03 Andrew Carden Nicholson & Kinnear Deliver Extraordinary Performances In This Heartfelt Tale. 5 stars
4/08/03 Mystique good comedy 5 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby Never makes a bit of sense. Just about every role is miscast, too -- including Nicholson. 2 stars
3/13/03 Shadaan everything except the performances sucked ! 3 stars
1/27/03 Nevz Shut it Carden! 4 stars
12/31/02 Bob Hardcore Nicholson is funny as hell and Hunt is lovely 4 stars
10/16/02 Charles Tatum Did Brooks write a script, or make things up as filming progressed? 2 stars
8/12/02 blakers a good film 4 stars
7/27/02 I Can't Swim Oscar for Hunt one of the worse ever awarded; movie is mildly entertaining, at best 3 stars
6/24/02 Film Afficianado Funny film about characters learning about their needs to grow. Predictable but worth it! 5 stars
4/25/02 Phil M. Aficiando The performances are 5-star; the story is engaging; feel good --- enjoy the dialogue. 5 stars
2/25/02 Butterbean Why did Helen Hunt get an Oscar? She plays the same bland Jane Doe in everything she does! 3 stars
2/08/02 Ashley Corpening funny how an elite few can be 10x as P.I. as John Rocker but get chance to redeem themself! 3 stars
12/16/01 Andrew Carden What Sounds Great Is Really A Dull and Pathetic Chick Flick. 1 stars
12/11/01 Monster W. Kung Dull and boring, had potential but never takes off. Avoid. 2 stars
11/30/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Nicholson's character is sexist, racist and obsessive. And yet we like him. 5 stars
8/29/01 Gary Acidic and snappy dialogue, wonderful characters & Kinnear and Nicholson are excellent. 5 stars
6/12/01 Bada Bing Crosby A sharp observation on human pain at times but is ruined by sugar-coated finale 3 stars
5/27/01 hum good film, but hunt always seems be play same character in anything 4 stars
5/02/01 GarboGirl Truly profound! Down to earth and below the belt sarcasm 5 stars
2/18/01 Jake Depressing and tedious dialogue. ok to see once for Gooding 3 stars
2/15/01 lisa ! awful awful awful! it was building up to a big climax and nothing happened! utter crap 1 stars
2/10/01 Dark Sol Nicholson is so great that he makes the other actors as great as him 5 stars
1/22/01 jmr total crap 1 stars
12/08/00 Tdis72 The best movie of the year. 5 stars
12/04/00 Cristopher Revilla weird and overrated, but still good 5 stars
5/29/00 todd great 5 stars
4/11/00 Richard Wright A great character centred comedy: superbly written, and performed to perfection. 4 stars
3/24/00 David Rogers I saw this with my mom and wasn't expecting much, but WOW! It was funny! 4 stars
10/23/99 L.Valverde It was very well done and I love the way Jack Nickolson plays in this movie. A must see. 5 stars
9/30/99 Bozo Hate this movie w/a passion...Hunt is talentless, ditto Greg, I'm sick of Jack playing Jack 1 stars
9/21/99 Deena one of the best films yet 5 stars
8/21/99 Olivia Neutron-Bomb Give Jack an award for hell..being Jack...but don't credit it to this. 1 stars
6/25/99 David Keech I agree that this movie was over-rated, but it is still pretty funny. Kudos to GK though. 3 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Fucking hilarious - if you dont find this funny your plainly a single parent lesbo. 4 stars
4/13/99 Go Swans Should have won best screenplay (and best picture, dammit) 5 stars
4/11/99 Alonzo (alc311@hotmail.com) Completely overrated! Helen Hunt Robbed Judi Dench for the oscar, but the movies ok 4 stars
1/24/99 donkey_dew And I still fail to see why this was even nominated for best picture. 1 stars
12/09/98 Pat Flanagan Was definately a better movie than Titanic! 5 stars
11/27/98 Mr.Pink Terrific performances make for a movie I won't forget. 5 stars
11/13/98 Jules Some of the most original writing I've seen. Nice acting job too. 4 stars
10/27/98 Johny Overrated Crap 1 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob Another film for people who love TV. 3 stars
10/25/98 Kim Dickson Some acting sucked. Big-time. Titanic should've won the awards. 1 stars
10/24/98 grunter meandering plotless sitcom mishmash; Jack when are U gonna learn to ACT? 1 stars
10/18/98 MR HOLLYWOOD !! Ncholson good/Hunt tries too hard...Kinnear deserved oscar!,Beware alot of boring bits!! 3 stars
10/14/98 Chi-Fan Hu Good Movie 4 stars
9/26/98 Maegs Talk Soup Boy makes good 4 stars
9/23/98 Farham Shamsi It's HH -- Need I say more? 5 stars
9/23/98 Tsee Yung Lee Best acting by far! No contest. Titanic was hype. This is what movies should be! 5 stars
9/23/98 Tsee Yuan Lee The best movie in recent memory. Superb acting! Unliuke Titanic which came out around then 5 stars
9/15/98 Badass The movies message- "if you look at somebody long enough you see their humanity" is lost. 2 stars
9/06/98 Kid Pee-Pee I didn't want to like it, but it grew on me. Can only fault it's length. 4 stars
9/05/98 Jon One of the worst and most overhyped movies of all time. 1 stars
8/29/98 Johny I didn't like it at all, and all the popularity has soured me more 1 stars
8/28/98 Chuck-D sorry, just not that good. Not too funny, not too touching, couldn't identify with anyone. 2 stars
8/25/98 Miss Stress funny funny and funny. and the dog was cute too 4 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee Conceded. Great flick. 4 stars
8/21/98 rotten f. milk Good flick. Good performances by all. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Dec-1997 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Feb-1998




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