AS GOOD AS IT GETS
A review by Don Weinman
"Step on a crack, break your mother's back!"
When I was kid in grammar school this was a game we frequently
played on the way home from school. The idea being simply to avoid
stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk. For Melvin Udall, the
unlikely protagonist of As Good as it Gets, it is no game. It is a
deadly serious compulsion, one of many, but surely the one that gets
the most laughs from the audience. The sight of Jack Nicholson
careening down the sidewalks of New York City like a runaway bus is
Melvin has more problems than most people ever see in a multitude of
people. He is arrogant, compulsive, bigoted, and cranky beyond
belief. And.... He is a very successful romance author. His biggest
problem as the film opens is a dispute with his gay artist neighbor,
played with sensitivity by Greg Kinnear, regarding the neighbor's
dog, who Melvin has conveniently thrown down the garbage chute.
Then there is the problem with Melvin's breakfast. He eats at a
nearby diner where Carol Connelly, played by Helen Hunt in far and
away her best feature film performance, is the only waitress (indeed
the only employee or customer in the place) who can put up with
The plot gets rolling when Melvin is forced to take care of the dog
for a few weeks, and Carol's young son needs hospitalization causing
Carol to take time off from the diner.
Greg can't eat breakfast!
Of course, there is a predictable end to this film, but no matter.
Getting to that end is a delight, a rare and wonderful piece of
comedic art is this film.
For complete cast and credits click here