7.7/10
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493 user 137 critic

As Good as It Gets (1997)

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

Director:

James L. Brooks

Writers:

Mark Andrus (story), Mark Andrus (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,744 ( 291)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 36 wins & 53 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Melvin Udall
Helen Hunt ... Carol Connelly
Greg Kinnear ... Simon Bishop
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Frank Sachs
Skeet Ulrich ... Vincent
Shirley Knight ... Beverly
Yeardley Smith ... Jackie
Lupe Ontiveros ... Nora
Jill the Dog ... Verdell (as Jill)
Timer the Dog Timer the Dog ... Supporting Dog (as Timer)
Billy the Dog Billy the Dog ... Supporting Dog (as Billy)
Bibi Osterwald ... Neighbor Woman
Ross Bleckner Ross Bleckner ... Carl
Bernadette Balagtas ... 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:

Brace yourself for Melvin. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Old Friends See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,606,928, 28 December 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$148,478,011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$314,178,011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Verdell the dog, was played by six Brussels Griffons, named Timer the Dog, Sprout, Debbie, Billy the Dog, Parfait, and Jill the Dog. Jill was the star. See more »

Goofs

When Simon, Melvin and Carol go to Baltimore and Carol gets to drive while Simon is telling his story, the convertible has the roof down and its down when she says she'll pull over to give Simon her full attention, but when they pull over the roof is up. See more »

Quotes

Melvin Udall: Police! Donut-munching morons, HELP ME! HELP ME!
Frank Sachs: Shh!
Melvin Udall: Assault and Battery - and you're black!
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

References Terms of Endearment (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE
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 bob the mooSee 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.


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