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As Good as It Gets

As Good as It Gets

James L Brooks (1997)

138min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Ostensibly, this romantic comedy drama from director James L Brooks is about Jack Nicholson. He plays Melvin Udall, a homophobic bigot who insults everyone, lives alone, writes trashy novels for a living and has obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, the movie is really about Helen Hunt, who plays that corniest of Hollywood characters - the lonely, frustrated waitress with a problem child. Yet Hunt, who was offered the role when Holly Hunter turned it down and, like Nicholson, won an Oscar for her pains, breathes life into the part, outshining her co-star and his trademark grouchy act. The picture, though, is a mixed blessing, shot on oddly retro studio sets and featuring Greg Kinnear in the clich├ęd role of a tormented homosexual artist with a pet dog. It's lazily directed and far too long, but Hunt is a revelation and the reason to stick with it.

Summary

A bigoted misanthropic writer, who treats everyone he meets with contempt, is forced to look after a gay neighbour's dog, and develops an empathy with another creature for the first time in years. Sensing a need for human company, he pursues an unlikely romance with a waitress, who is the only person willing to put up with his rudeness. Romantic comedy drama, with Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Jr and Greg Kinnear.

Cast & Crew

Melvin Udall Jack Nicholson
Carol Connelly Helen Hunt
Simon Bishop Greg Kinnear
Frank Sachs Cuba Gooding Jr
Vincent Skeet Ulrich
Beverly Shirley Knight
Jackie Yeardley Smith
Nora Lupe Ontiveros
Carl Ross Bleckner
Handyman Brian Doyle-Murray
Cafe 24 waitress Missi Pyle
Cafe 24 manager Shane Black
Street hustler Jamie Kennedy
Policewoman Maya Rudolph
Dr Green Lawrence Kasdan
Dr Bettes Harold Ramis
Man on bus Todd Solondz
Director James L Brooks
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Other Information

Language: English Colour Theatrical distributor: Columbia Tristar Films (UK) Guidance: Violence, swearing and drug abuse. Available on: Available on video and DVD

Comedy Drama

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