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As Good As It Gets (1997)


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 65
Rotten: 11

Critics Consensus: James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 18
Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 376,866



Movie Info

Jack Nicholson is hilariously funny as a compulsive-obsessive, homophobic romance novelist who is compelled by circumstances to get to know his gay neighbor (Greg Kinnear) and the waitress who puts up with NicholsonŐs abuse over breakfast every morning.

PG-13 (For strong language, thematic elements, nudity and a beating)
Drama , Romance , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Mark Andrus , James L. Brooks
In Theaters:
May 19, 1998
TriStar Pictures


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Critic Reviews for As Good As It Gets

All Critics (77) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (11) | DVD (16)

A sporadically funny romantic comedy with all the dramatic plausibility and tonal consistency of a TV variety show.

Full Review… | July 2, 2008
Top Critic

The trouble lies in the rambling narrative, Brooks' cautious direction and the cosy tone which renders the whole thing reminiscent of an extended sitcom.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Romance comedies definitely come better than this, although perhaps not lately.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

It's fun to watch Jack Nicholson draw on great reservoirs of bile to play a mean SOB with an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

It's a mark of how magically written, directed and acted As Good as It Gets is that we end up loving this film despite knowing how haphazard, scattershot and almost indefinable its charm is.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The movie succeeds at many moments even while pursuing its doomed grand design.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Funny, but not a light comedy for youngsters.

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

The greatest pleasures come from the acting.

Full Review… | March 29, 2009

The movie's too long, and the direction is sometimes slack -- but the script is crammed with withering ripostes, ably delivered by Nicholson and Hunt.

Full Review… | September 3, 2008
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Not only one of the best romantic comedies of the year, but one of the best films in ages.

Full Review… | December 30, 2006
Dark Horizons

Both funny and sad, the comedy was in the vein of Brooks' Terms of Endearment, except it was more eccentric and nuttier and in moments genuinely touching due to strong chemistry between Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.

Full Review… | February 24, 2006

An inflated TV show by a sitcom creator.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
F5 (Wichita, KS)

The character is written as the most unlikable person one could ever meet. Despite this fact, Jack manages to make the character sympathetic.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

The unpredictable and fresh 'As Good As It Gets' is peppered with memorable Brooks lines and physical schtick.

Full Review… | May 28, 2005
Kansas City Kansan

Mildly likable.

Full Review… | April 9, 2005
Reeling Reviews

...a precariously balanced movie, one that flirts with smugness. That it isn't awful is in some respects amazing.

Full Review… | January 27, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

... it coaxes us to be more open to each other, more compassionate, and more loving.

Full Review… | December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

Like Broadcast News, James L. Brooks' new film is a dark-edged adult comedy that hits the spot for those who like their romances splashed with acidic wit.

Full Review… | June 25, 2004

Even the familiar scenes and situations look refreshing.

Full Review… | January 8, 2004

Humorous, romantic, personal.

Full Review… | February 8, 2003
Film Quips Online

Perhaps, though, it is Carol's (and Hunt's) ongoing commitment to emotional honesty and fair play that make it increasingly difficult to ignore the film's encroaching patterns of sentimentality and uninspired developments.

Full Review… | January 10, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

An honest, original comedy about recognizable human beings.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

This is Jack at his best, the kind of role that makes him a star. He gets to bear his teeth, take control of a room, and be devilishly cuddly at the same time.

Full Review… | October 11, 2002
Combustible Celluloid

Nicholson is so darn good!

Full Review… | September 10, 2002
Montreal Film Journal

Audience Reviews for As Good As It Gets


Brace yourself for Melvin.

Great Film! Everything is good and warm in this movie, everything is fresh and vivacious, understandable and well performed. Jack Nicholson brings one of the best performances of his career, that terrific Helen Hunt finally got a chance to show how skilfully an actor can connect naturalism with the laws of the camera performance, and Greg Kinnear shows the most convincing emotions coming from a gay character I've ever seen. The relationships between the characters are created in the way that you can't predict anything that's going to happen, eventhough you know in advance what could come out of their mouth and what kind of attitude they'll have in a certain situation. You can simply feel the progressive collaboration that occurred between Brooks and the actors and the mutual understanding they developed, and it's not often that you see that kind of artistic superstructure shining on the screen so much as it does here. Overall this is a sentimental romantic comedy that is typical for the genre. The story wanders to it's point but the good cast, led by a great Nicholson, hold the whole thing together. A superior piece of sentimentality. Go see it!

New York City. Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer, finds his life turned upside down when neighboring gay artist Simon is hospitalized and his dog is entrusted to Melvin. In addition, Carol, the only waitress who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


Great characters, excellent acting, and lots of humor and pathos highlight this charming and heartwarming human dramedy/romance story about damaged people struggling for hope, help, and love. While not everyone can relate to the specifics of the characters, the general issues they deal with are realistically portrayed, believable, and understandable.

This is great stuff. Jack and Helen definitely deserved their Oscars for their work here, but I think Kinnear got robbed. He's also terrific. Even the little dog is very cute and memorable.

All in all, the film is a very touching and well done piece, but, because it does hit a lot of uncomfortable moments, it can be one that's tough to get through at times. However, there's a fair amount of humor, and, while some of it is mean-spirited, it's definitely memorable, and there's plenty of lines, funny and otherwise, that are quite quotable.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


The plot is forced, but Nicholson as Melvin is so sharp and captivating. The film creates an original Ebeneezer Scrooge with a piercing wit aimed to tear down whoever he crosses. Perhaps he is maintaining social walls to ensure that his severe obsessive-compulsive disorder is well stroked, securing his meticulously-set routine from interruptions. They say a way to get over your bad habits is to find better habits that you enjoy even more... Well hello, Helen Hunt!

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer



It's a touching romantic comedy that balances itself properly right in between being energetic and schmultsy. Nicholson is fantastic in his role as Melvin and the same goes for the supporting cast. The direction is near solid but at time's bumbling and unnatural. It's a bit to lengthy but As Good as it Gets is a tremendously entertaining rom com of a high quality.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

As Good As It Gets Quotes

Melvin Udall:
People who talk in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch.
– Submitted by Jeremy F (21 months ago)
Melvin Udall:
Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes, with boats, and friends, and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story; good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good.
– Submitted by Jim G (2 years ago)
Melvin Udall:
Well, I work all the time. So never interrupt me. Not if there's a fire. Not even if you hear the sound of a thud coming from my home and a week later, there's a smell that can only be a decaying human body and you have to put a hanky up to your nose because the smell is so bad, you think you're gonna faint. Even then don't come knocking. Or, if it's election night, and you're excited and you wanna celebrate because some fudge packer you date has become the first queer president of the United States and he's going to have you down to Camp David, and you want someone to share the moment with. Even then, don't knock, not on this door. Not for any reason. Do you get me, sweetheart?
– Submitted by Cody H (2 years ago)
Melvin Udall:
I had to see you.
Carol Connelly:
Melvin Udall:
It relaxes me. I'd feel better sitting outside your apartment on the curb than any other place I can think of or imagine.
– Submitted by Jayathra L (2 years ago)
How do you write women so well?
Melvin Udall:
I think of a man. And I take away reason and accountability.
– Submitted by Jayathra L (2 years ago)
Melvin Udall:
Sell crazy someplace else. We're all stocked up here!
– Submitted by Marc H (2 years ago)

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