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As Good as It Gets (1997)

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A single mother/waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,744 ( 30)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 35 wins & 49 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Verdell (as Jill)
Timer the Dog ...
Supporting Dog (as Timer)
Billy the Dog ...
Supporting Dog (as Billy)
Bibi Osterwald ...
Neighbor Woman
Ross Bleckner ...
Jaffe Cohen ...


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. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Brace yourself for Melvin. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for strong language, thematic elements, nudity and a beating | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Old Friends  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,606,928 (USA) (26 December 1997)


$147,637,474 (USA) (19 June 1998)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Carol was originally supposed to be 44 years old. Helen Hunt was 34. See more »


The number of grapes on Melvin's Plate changes repeatedly between shots during his conversation with Carol in the restaurant. See more »


Melvin Udall: Love that dog.
Simon Bishop: You don't love anything, Mr Udall.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Just after the disclaimer of the American Humane Association (The animals used in this film were in no way mistreated...) there is a second disclaimer stating "The actors used in this film were in no way mistreated." See more »


Features I Dream of Jeannie (1965) See more »


Written by Eric Idle
Produced by Hans Zimmer
Performed by Art Garfunkel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A superior Hollywood piece of sentimentality
27 January 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Melvin is a romantic novelist who is a selfish manic compulsive who is rude and insulting to all he meets. When Melvin's gay neighbour is beaten up and robbed, Melvin agrees to look after his dog. The dog gives Melvin something to care about other than himself and his life is approaching normal until his regular waitress has to leave work to look after her asthmatic son and his neighbour wants his dog back. Melvin starts to realise that his life needs others for more than just selfish reasons.

The big Oscar winner for Jack is recent years is enjoyable if you come to it knowing what to expect. The film is very sentimental but in a good way. The film is gently comic and amusing and the characters (although exaggerated) are winning and involving. The telling is a little long winded at times and the film could have been shorter but it is still enjoyable. It does tip over into sickly sentimentality at times and can be a bit syrupy but it comes with the territory.

Nicholson is excellent and is the main reason it all works well. His un-PC Melvin is funny but also a character that you can hate and pity on several occasions. Kinnear is good because he is a solid understated character and not hammy or OTT like he can be. Hunt is good but is left with the majority of the syrup and sentiment where the other characters get more share of the laughs. Gooding Jr continues his trend of being good in over the top roles and is funny and happily avoids becoming a flaming gay stereotype.

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.

68 of 93 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Sadly, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. MyMotleyCrew
kickass lines wechulipaul
Helen Hunt's Oscar? payback122
Could There Have Been LESS Chemistry? arnomation
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder bentoncg
anyone here agree with melvin that.. j-rule
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