The way I see it, this film holds Jack Nicholson's most stellar delivery yet. He proves that he can use the same straightforward personality he did in films such as ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST and THE SHINING, whilst successfully adding in an original, comedic taste. In more than just one scene, his character decides to cheer himself up by tickling out the ivories with an arrangement of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's biblical satire LIFE OF BRIAN. In some restaurant scenes, it is unclear whether we should laugh or feel sympathetic when Jack's character insults waitresses: "What's wrong with your son?", "Get me Carol, Elephant-Girl," etc. In other scenes, such as the one in which Melvin tries conversing with Carol in her own house, as if talking to her during her working hours, to which she goes off the wall, we as the audience are obligated to do nothing but laugh. Alongside that is his typical sharp wit: for instance, when a woman asks Melvin how he writes woman so well, he replies, "I think of men. Then I take away reason and accountability."
For someone who was bored stiff for nearly half of TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, the first collaboration between director James L. Brooks and actor Jack Nicholson, I was actually quite pleased with AS GOOD AS IT GETS, their second collaboration. Though I know Brooks much better for his screen writing work on TV's THE SIMPSONS, I find it easy to understand the humor he puts forth. His humor is different, and often subtle, but if he would direct more comedies like this, he would be well up there with Woody Allen and MEL Brooks on the ideal critic's list of greatest comedic filmmakers. Sadly, Brooks has only directed four other films than the ones mentioned: I'LL DO ANYTHING, BROADCAST NEWS, HOW DO YOU KNOW, SPANGLISH.