As Good As It Gets (1997)

Directed by James L. Brooks
Written by Mark Andrus & James L. Brooks
Starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Skeet Ulrich

My Advice: Don't Miss It.

Okay, let's get one thing out of the way.  Nicholson is sixty years old, and Hunt is thirty-four.  Maybe I'm just really dense, but that thought went through my mind only once during this entire film.  What was going through my mind was what a terrific ensemble cast they assembled for this thing.  Nicholson is in top form as the charmingly sadistic and slightly off-his-rocker Melvin, who has an opinion of everyone for everyone.  His character is trapped by his obsessive/compulsive disorder, and you can see Nicholson's Melvin trying not to let it get the better of him.  Helen Hunt is endearing as Nicholson's long-suffering waitress, who happens to be the only one who can put up with his crap.  And Kinnear rounds out the trilogy as Melvin's homosexual artist neighbor with a dog that needs some kind of animal acting award.  Now, these three have been getting all the awards, but don't miss the great supporting cast, with Gooding as Kinnear's slightly pissed-off art dealer, Shirley Knight as Hunt's mother (who gets one of the best lines), and Harold Ramis and Lawrence Kasdan cameo-ing as a couple of doctors.  What they create for us is a black but realistic comedy about life and how it sucks and also how impossible it is to fall in love with someone sane, but still it's no excuse for not enjoying yourself.  Or this film.

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