- Actors: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr., Skeet Ulrich
- Directors: James L. Brooks
- Writers: James L. Brooks, Mark Andrus
- Producers: James L. Brooks, Aldric La'auli Porter, Bridget Johnson, John D. Schofield, Kristi Zea
- Format: NTSC
- Language: English
- Number of tapes: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Columbia/Tristar Vid
- VHS Release Date: May 7 2002
- Run Time: 139 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 245 customer reviews
- ASIN: 0767811712
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,093 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)
As Good As It Gets (Widescreen)
For all of its conventional plotting about an obsessive-compulsive curmudgeon (Jack Nicholson) who improves his personality at the urging of his gay neighbor (Greg Kinnear) and a waitress (Helen Hunt) who inspires his best behavior, this is one of the sharpest Hollywood comedies of the 1990s. Nicholson could play his role in his sleep (the Oscar he won should have gone to Robert Duvall for The Apostle), but his mischievous persona is precisely necessary to give heart to his seemingly heartless character, who is of all things a successful romance novelist. As a single mom with a chronically asthmatic young son, Hunt gives the film its conscience and integrity (along with plenty of wry humor), and she also won an Oscar for her wonderful performance. Greg Kinnear had to settle for an Oscar nomination (while cowriter-director James L. Brooks was inexplicably snubbed by Oscar that year), but his work was also singled out in the film's near-unanimous chorus of critical praise. It's questionable whether a romance between Hunt and the much older Nicholson is entirely believable, but this movie's smart enough--and charmingly funny enough--to make it seem endearingly possible. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
And that line encapsulates the story, which is essentially the story of an incredibly interesting, accomplished, and intelligent man who's fears dominate him to such an extent that the viewer sees the exact opposite through most of the film.
The movie documents the transformitive effect that human caring can have as an element of value in life that trancends the material. Nicholson plays a man who has the money, the success, the perfectly organized enviroment, but is completely devoid of companionship.
When introduced; as it is both in his relationship with his neighbor (through his beautiful dog...which happens to be a Brussels Griffon to anyone curious) or Helen Hunt, his waitress, the threat in needing companionship ushers all kinds of wild and comedic turmoil, but in the end...well, I won't spoil it for those who have yet to view.
And to that class of people, who have yet to see this film, count yourself lucky, it's a beautiful comedy about love, and it's power to help man triumph over fear. To those of you who have seen this and are considering buying the movie, I recommend you do. It's one of the few in my collection that I frequently watch and enjoy.
This film is comforting to some because it glorifies the individual; it illuminates the humanity, and, ultimately, the beauty of everyday characters. (While the obssessive-compulsive romance writer may not be the most typical personality, many people can probably identify with individual crises, big and small, of Carol and Simon.) In the final scene, Melvin (Nicholson) gives a reminder of Simon's earlier reflections after singing the praises of Carol the waitress (Hunt): "I might be the only one who sees that you're the most wonderful woman in the world." It becomes clear that Melvin loves Carol for, above all, her humanity. The significant age gap between the two main characters seems to be bridged by this understanding.
Still wary of AGAIG because of its romanticomedy label? Fear not. Despite its pathos, it at least offers a few laughs and a generally pessimistic protagonist to amuse the cynics.
"As Good As It Gets," starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in the roles that won them academy awards, is a bittersweet comedy that is both moving and very heartfelt.
Nicholson plays Melvin Udall, an obsessive-compulsive novelist living in a richly furnished Manhattan apartment. His fellow neighbors know him most for having a mean mouth and really getting on their bad sides.
Something must break Melvin of his obsessive-compulsive habits and his mean attitude toward others. That is where Helen Hunt's Carol Connelly comes in.
Carol is a waitress living with her mom and sick son, Spencer. She also happens to be Melvin's favorite waitress. Melvin gets up every morning, goes to breakfast, and orders the same exact, cholesterol-filled meal from Carol. He even brings his own plastic silverware to eat with.
One day, Carol doesn't show up to work, and Melvin throws a fit because something has changed in his everyday routine. He isn't going to be served by the SAME waitress. Melvin ends up getting thrown out for causing a scene.
Desperate for Carol to return to work, Melvin decides to have his publisher's husband, who is a real, caring doctor, go over to Carol's apartment to help control her son's asthma problems. He even asks to be billed for all medical visits. Is Melvin, say, changing for the better? Anyone can guess what will happen throughout the rest of this film.
Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks bring us a screenplay so rich, humorous, and touching in all aspects. Brooks, who also directed, is well known for portraying all aspects of life in his works including love, relationships of all kinds, sorrow, humor, joy, and happiness etc. Think back to "Terms of Endearment," which Brooks also wrote and directed.
Both Nicholson and Hunt shine in their respective roles.
Nicholson sure knows how to pick the not-so-nice characters to play in films. One thing that is remarkably true is that he plays these characters very well. Once again, think back to "Terms of Endearment" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," that won him a Best Supporting Oscar and Best Actor Oscar, respectively.
This film has definitely propelled Helen Hunt into a full-fledged movie star. Her portrayal of Carol is excellent.
Greg Kinnear also stars as Melvin's gay neighbor, Simon Bishop, which also earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Also starring is Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simon's good friend, and Shirley Knight as Carol's mother.
This film will definitely be placed in the ranks with "Annie Hall" and "Sleepless in Seattle." When it comes to romantic comedies that appeal to all, perhaps, this is as good as it gets.
Overall Grade: A