As Good as It GetsDecember 25, 1997
A single mother/waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship
Release Year: 1997
Rating: 7.8/10 (122,871 voted)
Critic's Score: 67/100
James L. Brooks
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear
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.
Writers: Mark Andrus, Mark Andrus
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Jill the Dog
Timer the Dog
Billy the Dog
A comedy from the heart that goes for the throat.
Release Date: 25 December 1997
Filming Locations: 1 Windsor Place, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $12,606,928
(28 December 1997)
Did You Know?
An earlier version of the script was called "Old Friends". It was listed as one of the best unproduced screenplays by Movieline magazine and had Kevin Kline and Mike Newell attached at one point to star in and direct it, respectively.
When Carol tells Melvin that he can bring the dog into the restaurant, her mouth isn't moving.
You're a disgrace to depression.
How to create something out of nothing? Ask Mark Andrus and Jim L. Brooks
Really, how to make something original, fresh and odd out of absolutely
nothing except a few characters? Using characters, only characters and
nothing except characters. That's the simple formula Brooks uses in all of
his work, but, for me, he has never created so much charm, warmth and
sensibility as he did in `As good as it gets'.
Characters write the screenplay in this movie, and everything that happens –
happens because of what they are. They are nothing special they are
ordinary people we meet in the street every day and that have the same
problems a lot of other people have. This movie presents the example of how
much you can pull out of that. And if that is written as well as it is in
this case, not even a happy ending can bother you. Because, in real life,
shown here, what is the end?
Everything is good and warm in this movie, everything is fresh and
vivacious, understandable and well performed. Jack Nicholson brings one of
the best performances of his career, that terrific Helen Hunt finally got a
chance to show how skilfully an actor can connect naturalism with the laws
of the camera performance, and Greg Kinnear shows the most convincing
emotions coming from a gay character I've ever seen.
The relationships between the characters are created in the way that you
can't predict anything that's going to happen, eventhough you know in
advance what could come out of their mouth and what kind of attitude they'll
have in a certain situation.
You can simply feel the progressive collaboration that occurred between
Brooks and the actors and the mutual understanding they developed, and it's
not often that you see that kind of artistic superstructure shining on the
screen so much as it does here.
I find `As good as it gets' complexed, vital, intelligent, emotionally deep
and studied, fresh, original, amusing, cheerful, funny, and one of the best
films of 1997.