As Good as It Gets (1997)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic 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.

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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 NicholsonÕs abuse over breakfast every morning.
Rating:
PG-13 (For strong language, thematic elements, nudity and a beating)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
TriStar Pictures

Cast

Jack Nicholson
as Melvin Udall
Helen Hunt
as Carol Connelly
Greg Kinnear
as Simon Bishop
Cuba Gooding Jr.
as Frank Sachs
Skeet Ulrich
as Vincent
Shirley Knight
as Beverly
Lawrence Kasdan
as Dr. Green
Harold Ramis
as Dr. Bettes
Jesse James
as Spencer Connelly
Maya Rudolph
as Policewoman
John F. O'Donohue
as Detective Ray
Bibi Osterwald
as Neighbor Woman
Jaffe Cohen
as Partygoer
Laurie Kilpatrick
as Partygoer
Alice Vaughn
as Partygoer
Kristi Zea
as Mother at Table
Annie Maginnis Tippe
as Daughter at Table
Patricia Childress
as Cafe 24 Waitress
Rebekah Johnson
as Cafe 24 Waitress
Missi Pyle
as Cafe 24 Waitress
Leslie Stefanson
as Cafe 24 Waitress
Tara Subkoff
as Cafe 24 Waitress
Shane Black
as Cafe 24 Manager
Peter Jacobson
as Man at Table
Lisa Edelstein
as Woman at Table
Stan Bly
as Cafe 24 Customer
Randall Batinkoff
as Carol's Date
Jamie Kennedy
as Street Hustler
Justin Herwick
as Street Hustler
David A. Kipper
as Hospital Doctor
Mary Elizabeth Still
as Nurse Receptionist
Chloe Brooks
as Child at Cafe 24
Cooper Brooks
as Child at Cafe 24
Sharon L. Alexander
as Female Passerby
Holly Denys
as Female Passerby
Alison Rose
as Psychiatric Patient
Kathryn Morris
as Psychiatric Patient
Wood Harris
as Cafe 24 Busboy
Linda Gehringer
as Publisher
Julie Benz
as Receptionist
Kaitlin Hopkins
as Woman in Lobby
Jimmy Workman
as Sean from the Bakery
Danielle Spencer
as Veterinarian
Todd Solondz
as Man on Bus
Tom McGowan
as Maitre D'
Matt Malloy
as Men's Store Salesman
Paul Greenberg
as Bar Waiter
Kirk Ringberg
as Food Waiter
Dave Hawthorne
as Bartender
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Critic Reviews for As Good as It Gets

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (21)

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

Full Review… | July 1, 2008
Variety
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 23, 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 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 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
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 13, 2001
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Wicked, but it works.

December 31, 1999
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for As Good as It Gets

½

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
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

½

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
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

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

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