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As Good As It Gets

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: As Good As It Gets

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt
Director: James L. Brooks
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 138 Minutes
Release Date: December 1997
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Drama

*Also starring: Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr., Skeet Ulrich, Shirley Knight, Yeardley Smith, Lupe Ontiveros, Jesse James, Harold Ramis

Review by Walter Frith
3½ stars out of 4

Jack Nicholson has worked with director, writer and producer James L. Brooks on 1983's 'Terms of Endearment' and 1987's 'Broadcast News' and while Nicholson's career has been sagging a little since perhaps his most famous role as the Joker in 1989's 'Batman', Nicholson is back in full form in 'As Good As It Gets'. Nominated for only one Oscar in the 90's for Best Supporting Actor in 1992's 'A Few Good Men', Nicholson is certain to receive a nomination for Best Actor for this movie.

Nicholson plays a modern day writer in New York who is also a bigot who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder which forces him into routines so radical, its memorable at every turn. He spars with a gay neighbour (Greg Kinnear) at every chance he gets and causes trouble with his loud mouth at a restaurant he frequents involving a kind but independently minded waitress (Helen Hunt) with a little boy.

Under Nicholson's racist, sexist and homophobic skin is a man with a streak of decency like Archie Bunker as Nicholson does nice things eventually for the other characters in the film. Kinnear is beaten and robbed in his apartment and Nicholson takes care of his little dog in a reluctant manner after the film's opening scene depicted Nicholson putting the little canine down the garbage chute of his apartment floor's hallway.

Kinnear travels to Baltimore to ask his parents for the money to pay off his medical bills and Nicholson and Hunt go along for the ride and the characters all change and contract a better and stronger moral fibre by the end of the film. The relationship that builds between Nicholson and Hunt is the real focus of the film and the spark of romance between them is unusual and unique.

As is typical with a James L. Brooks movie, the tone of the film is slightly off beat and non-conformist which is perfect and this is a great date movie. Brooks' interpretation of romance in the 90's is both simplistic and touching and his style of presentation with this movie is done with little music score while it lets the actors create their own symphony of words and that's important.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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