As Good As It Gets

Review Date:
Director: James L. Brooks
Writer: Marc Andrus, James L. Brooks
Producers: James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson, Kristi Zea
Jack Nicholson
Helen Hunt
Greg Kinnear
This movie follows three very different people whose lives cross because of circumstances, and change, because of emotions. Melvin (Nicholson) is the overly-obnoxious and obsessively-compulsive writer. Carol (Hunt) is the waitress whose status as a single mother further accentuates her incapacity to take optimal care of her only son who suffers from a severe asthmatic condition. And Simon (Kinnear) is the semi-successful gay artist whose life turns for the worst after an unpredictable and bizarre incident. Their sadness, pains, joys and loves are the basis of this plot.
Extremely well made character film which plays just as good as a comedy, as it does an effective drama. This movie had me laughing out loud on several occasions, while fighting back the lump in my throat in a couple of other pivotal scenes. Once again, director Brooks has managed to effectively balance the two elements in this great picture about love, the trials and tribulations of everyday life, and the human capacity to survive and overcome all adversities.

The acting was top-notch all around, with Nicholson pulling off another great performance as the rudest man in New York City, and Kinnear finally getting a chance to successfully showcase his acting chops to the world. Hunt was also very good, but I did feel as though she over-cried her part in one focal scene (Although she did make up for it in the scene where she demands that Melvin “never mention her son again” in the restaurant….ouch !!). The supporting cast was also very solid, with Gooding Jr. continuing to show us why he is definitely worth “the money”.

And despite the fact that the movie did run a little long at close to two and a half hours, the effective manner in which the characters portrayed their lives was enough to genuinely keep me interested and caring throughout the picture’s entire run-time. The soundtrack was also very good, as was the appropriate mix of sadness and humor throughout the entire picture. One thing to keep in mind for this film is that its content is definitely skewed towards a more mature and adult audience. Somehow, I don’t see your local skateboarding GenX-ers appreciating the well-woven subtleties prescribed in this wonderfully human script.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian