As Good as It Gets
  • As Good as It Gets
  • As Good as It Gets

As Good as It Gets

4.5 17
Director: James L. Brooks

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear

     
 

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James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News) directed this $50 million-plus romantic comedy, set in Manhattan. Dysfunctional, acid-tongued romance novelist Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), who suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder, takes pride in his ability to offend. At a nearby cafe, the only waitress willing to stand up to hisSee more details below

Overview

James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News) directed this $50 million-plus romantic comedy, set in Manhattan. Dysfunctional, acid-tongued romance novelist Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), who suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder, takes pride in his ability to offend. At a nearby cafe, the only waitress willing to stand up to his sarcastic tirades is Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), a single mother struggling to raise her chronically asthmatic son. In Melvin's West Village apartment building, talented contemporary artist Simon Nye (Greg Kinnear) lives across the hall from Melvin. Simon is the current darling of the New York art world, reason enough to draw Melvin's verbal fire, but Simon's gay lifestyle is further grist for the novelist's malicious mill. These three New Yorkers, none of whom appears to have a chance in hell at finding true happiness, discover their fates intertwined because of the fourth complicated character in the piece, Verdell, a tiny Brussels Griffon dog (played by newcomer Jill, after a 15-week training program). Melvin seems to have no friends or family, and he lives alone, working on his 62nd book. When Simon goes into the hospital after a brutal mugging, Melvin has to take care of Verdell, and the dog actually warms Melvin's cold heart -- to the degree that he sets up unsolicited medical care for Carol's son. Eventually, Melvin is cornered into driving Simon and Carol to Baltimore, and during a hotel stopover, Melvin confesses to Carol, "You make me want to be a better man." The trip becomes an odyssey of self-realization for all three. Locations included Brooklyn's Prospect Park (Carol's neighborhood) and Greenwich Village (where Melvin's building is on 12th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues). Other exteriors were shot in downtown Los Angeles, where a dilapidated transient hotel at the corner of 4th Street and Main was transformed into the chic cafe where Carol works. Sets for the Simon/Melvin apartment interiors were erected on a soundstage at the Sony Pictures lot. Simon's paintings were created for the film by New York artist Billy Sullivan, whose work is part of the modern art collection at NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Rarely does a character's emotional transformation translate with as convincing sincerity as it does with As Good As It Gets' curmudgeonly Melvin Udall, played to perfection by Jack Nicholson. Mark Andrus and director James L. Brooks' bitterly funny and surprisingly touching script was tailored to Nicholson; he won his third Oscar as the lovable misanthrope. Helen Hunt broke out of the TV-sitcom ghetto with her Oscar-winning turn as a bittersweet, beleaguered waitress and single mom. Rounding out the circle of improbable friends, Greg Kinnear provides effortless work as the gay neighbor who provides an important role in Melvin's unlikely transformation. Ultimately, what makes the film succeed is its careful mix of laughs, melodrama and romance: the jokes always relate to the characters' development, and the more serious moments never devolve into sentimental treacle.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/20/1998
UPC:
0043396217096
Original Release:
1997
Rating:
R
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
2:19:00
Sales rank:
13,283

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Nicholson Melvin Udall
Helen Hunt Carol Connelly
Greg Kinnear Simon Bishop
Cuba Gooding Frank Sachs
Skeet Ulrich Vincent
Shirley Knight Beverly
Harold Ramis Dr. Betz
Jesse James Spencer Connelly
Yeardley Smith Jackie
Lupe Ontiveros Nora
Leslie Stefanson Cafe Waitress
Wood Harris Actor
Jamie Kennedy Street Hustler

Technical Credits
James L. Brooks Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Mark Andrus Original Story,Screenwriter
John Bailey Cinematographer
Bill Brzeski Production Designer
Clay Griffith Set Decoration/Design
Bridget Johnson Producer
Philip Too Lin Art Director
Molly Maginnis Costumes/Costume Designer
Francine Maisler Casting
Laurence Mark Executive Producer
Richard Marks Co-producer,Editor
Aldric La'Auli Porter Asst. Director
Richard Sakai Executive Producer
John D. Schofield Co-producer
Jeff Wexler Sound/Sound Designer
Owen Wilson Associate Producer
Kristi Zea Producer
Hans Zimmer Score Composer
Laura Ziskin Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Scene selections; Commentary track

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