As Good as It Gets

December 25th, 1997

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As Good as It Gets

Still of Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson in As Good as It GetsMelvin, Simon & VerdellJack Nicholson and Rebecca BoussardStill of Jack Nicholson and Cuba Gooding Jr. in As Good as It GetsAs Good as It GetsCuba Gooding Jr. as Frank

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

Director: 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

Jack Nicholson - Melvin Udall
Helen Hunt - Carol Connelly
Greg Kinnear - Simon Bishop
Cuba Gooding Jr. - Frank Sachs
Skeet Ulrich - Vincent Lopiano
Shirley Knight - Beverly Connelly
Yeardley Smith - Jackie Simpson
Lupe Ontiveros - Nora Manning
Jill the Dog - Verdell (as Jill)
Timer the Dog - Supporting Dog (as Timer)
Billy the Dog - Supporting Dog (as Billy)
Bibi Osterwald - Neighbor Woman
Ross Bleckner - Carl
Bernadette Balagtas - Caterer
Jaffe Cohen - Partygoer

Taglines: 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

Budget: $50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $12,606,928 (USA) (28 December 1997) (1572 Screens)

Gross: $314,178,011 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


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.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Carol tells Melvin that he can bring the dog into the restaurant, her mouth isn't moving.

Melvin Udall: You're a disgrace to depression.

User Review

How to create something out of nothing? Ask Mark Andrus and Jim L. Brooks

Rating: 10/10

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.

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