7.7/10
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546 user 136 critic

As Good as It Gets (1997)

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0:32 | Trailer
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
1,862 ( 693)
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

In one scene the dog starts mimicking Jack Nicholson by stepping over the cracks in the sidewalk. The filmmakers accomplished this by placing little obstacles on the cracks so that the dog had to step over them. They then removed the obstacles digitally in post-production. See more »

Goofs

When Carol takes the train to see Melvyn, after getting out of bed and for the sole purpose of telling him she won't sleep with him, the LED sign on the subway car she is riding says, "Subway Shuttle: Out of Service." See more »

Quotes

Melvin Udall: Hey, what I did for you... it's working out?
Carol Connelly: ...What you did changed my life.
[offers him the note]
Melvin Udall: No, no thank-you notes.
Carol Connelly: Well, part of what I said in this entire history of my life which you won't read is that somehow you've done more for my mother, my son and me, than anyone else ever has... And that makes you the most important, surprising, generous person I've ever met and that you be in our daily prayers forever. I also wrote one part... I wrote, "I'm sorry"... I was talking about I was ...
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Crazy Credits

In cast credits dogs are credited as: Verdell - Jill Supporting dogs - Timer, Billy See more »

Connections

Featured in If We Picked the Winners (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Temple (Sanctuary Mix)
Written & Performed by Jane Siberry
Courtesy of Reprise Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

User Reviews

 
It's hard not to leave this film with a smile on your face.
7 March 2014 | by estebangonzalez10See all my reviews

"You make me want to be a better man."

I finally got around to watching this touching and funny film directed by James L. Brooks that stands out thanks to some wonderful performances and memorable characters. As Good As it Gets is proof that actions are louder than words because despite how cruel and mean Nicholson's character is, he does incredible and kind things for others. In a way this film reminded me of David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook as I found both films to be difficult to follow at first due to the lack of a likable character, but once we get to know who these people are we forgive their flaws and end up routing for them. Both Nicholson and Helen Hunt give excellent performances, and their Oscar wins were well deserved in my opinion. As Good As it Gets is the very definition of charm, and the screenplay written by Mark Andrus (Life As a House) shines thanks to some incredible performances. I really enjoyed this film and found myself laughing through most of the scenes. This is one more film I can eliminate from my shame list, and I'm glad I finally got to experience this romantic comedy which also has a lot to say about overcoming illness.

We are introduced to Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), a cranky but successful author who suffers from OCD. He lives on his own in a beautiful apartment where he spends most of his time writing. He always goes out on his daily breakfast ritual which consists of walking to a nearby cafe without touching anyone or stepping on any cracks. He always sits in the same place at the cafe and always demands to be served by the same waitress, whose name is Carol (Helen Hunt). Carol is actually the only one in the cafe who stands his constant outbursts and cruel comments. Melvin's daily routine changes through two events that end up affecting his life. First, his homosexual artist neighbor named Simon (Greg Kinnear) suffers an accident and Melvin unwillingly accepts to take care of his dog in his absence. Second, Carol's son, Spencer (Jesse James) gets ill and she quits her job. Not accepting the fact that Carol isn't there to serve him, Melvin tries to find her in order to restore order back to his life. These series of events force Melvin to change his routine and at the same time he forms an unlikely friendship with Carol and Simon proving that he isn't as bad as he seems to be.

The performances by each one of the talented actors are the heart and motor of this film. Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt share an incredible chemistry together. It's funny how despite never being able to share his feelings towards her and always saying the wrong things, it becomes clear that she does inspire him to become a better person. The supporting cast is also incredible here, especially Greg Kinnear and Cuba Gooding Jr. who deliver several funny scenes. I was partial to Brooks's work considering I had only seen How Do You Know which didn't work for me and Spanglish which I did enjoy, but As Good As it Gets is without a doubt his best work thanks to an unbelievable cast. This is a smart and funny film, which also could be cruel at times, but it was well balanced. Despite the schmaltzy story it still worked thanks to the characters that carried this film. It's hard not to leave this film with a smile on your face.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Gross USA:

$148,478,011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$314,178,011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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