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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
989 ( 378)
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:

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:

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

As of 2019, features Greg Kinnear's only Oscar nominated performance. See more »

Goofs

When Simon spends the night with Melvin, Carol calls and Simon picks up. When it's time for Melvin to talk to her, Simon supposedly sets the phone on the table for him to pick it up. But, when Simon does this, there is a sound of him hanging up the receiver, not setting it aside. When Melvin walks over to it, he picks it off the table as if it had always been there. See more »

Quotes

Simon Bishop: Thank you, Melvin. You... overwhelm me.
[pauses]
Simon Bishop: I love you.
Melvin Udall: I tell you, buddy... I'd be the luckiest guy alive if that did it for me.
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 Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.119 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

EVERYTHING MY HEART DESIRES
Written by Phil Roy and Peter Blakeley
Produced by Phil Roy
Performed by Danielle Brisebois
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
What every romantic comedy aspires to be...
12 May 2014 | by longcooljolieSee all my reviews

and this movie can be watched again, and again, and again (at least by me).

By now, most people who watch movies are aware that this one practically swept the Oscars for the year it was produced. It won Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt best Actor/Actress awards, came away with Best Picture and also Greg Kinnear won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Simon Bishop, a sensitive gay artist.

Seventeen years later the movie stands up well because of its timeless quality. "As Good as it Gets" is a very tight story and performance by all the actors and there is not one moment, scene or actor wasted. The story centers around people's expressions more than most movies. One example is an elderly woman actress who has opened her apartment door to run an errand and her features contort in disgust when she happens upon Melvin Udall, the Jack Nicholson character who is about to do some mischief with his gay neighbor's dog.

Another example is Skeet Ulrich, who plays a street tough who somehow winds up doing a modeling job for Simon (Greg Kinnear) the gay artist. When Simon explains to Vincent (Ulrich) what he is looking for in a pose, Vincent's eyes widen and he murmurs "Wow." Moments later he nonchalantly delivers the type of pose Simon is looking for. Unfortunately, Simon and Vincent's association ends badly and creates a turning point for the movie.

There are also several layers of irony at play in the story. It is ironic that Melvin, a hardcore misanthropist mired in full-blown OCD can somehow deliver romance novels that women love and buy by the barrelful. Also ironic is that Melvin's character transformation begins when he must take care of Simon's dog, an adorable little Brussels Griffon.

It's also ironic that Carol, Helen Hunt's waitress character, works in a restaurant populated by actress-hopefuls who serve diners while striving for their big acting break. Some have stated that Hunt, a fetching but not-too-glamorous actress was too pretty for the role. However she was dressed down just enough for the role to make it work and her understated beauty comes into play in a big way later on in the story.

Finally there's Jack Nicholson. His portrayal of Melvin Udall stands out as one of his great performances because of all the subtle nuances. The shot of him holding Verdell the dog and cooing to him is one of the signature shots not only from the movie but from his whole career. Near 60 when the movie was produced, he comes across more fit and polished than usual, definitely more so that his portrayal of the raucous astronaut in Terms of Endearment, another one of his great performances, which had occurred 13 years earlier.

If you've never seen it what on earth are you waiting for? And if, like me you've seen it over and over, hopefully this review gives some new insight as to why "As Good as it Gets" is so gloriously watchable, over and over again.


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