A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.
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.
- Feb 17, 2000