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As Good as It Gets (1997)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 200,482 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 459 user | 159 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

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

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Writers:

(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: As Good as It Gets (1997)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 39 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Vincent
...
Beverly
...
Jackie
...
Nora
...
Verdell (as Jill)
Timer the Dog ...
Supporting Dog (as Timer)
Billy the Dog ...
Supporting Dog (as Billy)
Bibi Osterwald ...
Neighbor Woman
Ross Bleckner ...
Carl
...
Caterer
Jaffe Cohen ...
Partygoer
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

A comedy from the heart that goes for the throat. See more »

Genres:

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Old Friends  »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£909,459 (UK) (13 March 1998)

Gross:

$147,637,474 (USA) (19 June 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Melvin Udall's acidic statement on writing female characters ("I think of a man, then I take away reason and accountability") was originally made by author John Updike. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Melvin Udall: Where do they teach you to talk like this? In some Panama City "Sailor wanna hump-hump" bar, or is it getaway day and your last shot at his whiskey? Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.
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 »

Connections

Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

HAND ON MY HEART
Written & Performed by Judith Owen
Courtesy of Dram Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Unusual movie
17 February 2000 | by (Cincinnati, Ohio) – See all my reviews

This movie is bizarre because, while judged overall its story is shmaltzy and unbelievable, nevertheless each individual scene plays absolutely convincingly and feels very real. It's weird. I don't know if it's just the greatness of the actors overcoming an under-thought out script, or whether it's just the script concentrated solely on crafting great scenes one after the other, but not so much in coming up with a convincing through-line. Whatever. All I know is that this is one of the most entertaining pictures I've ever seen, extremely funny and quite emotionally affecting in places. Somehow, it just doesn't matter - I like it anyway.

The performances are uniformly excellent. Nicholson shows real range here - sure, he gets to be the sarcastic curmudgeon we've all come to expect, but his character also has moments of fear, repression and vulnerability which he brings off equally well. My problem with this character (and the "problem" only exists as I think about him afterward, not while I'm actually watching the movie) is in his conception: he seems to be whatever the writers want him to be at that moment, with no particular consistency from scene to scene so when he supposedly "changes" at the end, we're left to think, "Change? This guy's been changing through the entire movie!" And also, the fact that his character is a romance novelist is never really explained or examined in any way.

And yet, Nicholson's performance makes it not matter quite so much.

Helen Hunt is a revelation in this movie - she nails every scene she's in, whether she's forced to be witty, embarrassed, angry, defiant, emotionally overwhelmed, whatever. She keeps Jack on his toes, and they work off each other brilliantly. Also, I never thought I'd find myself saying this, but Greg Kinnear was great as Simon, the gay neighbor. (It was also nice to see director Harold Ramis - the third Ghostbuster, after all - in front of the camera again, if only briefly, in a small part as a doctor.)

What more can I say? Good comedy, good love story, great acting. None of it, in the end, is very convincing, but if you just focus on the individual moments and not on the grand design - a task made easy by the wonderful writing and playing - it's very easy to like As Good As It Gets.


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