Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 96 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: An unusual friendship develops between three people in New York City: a single mother working as a waitress (Hunt), a writer with obsessive-compulsive disorder (Nicholson), and his neighbor, a gay artist (Kinnear).
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Gene Siskel
    A brash romantic comedy that has a serious purpose at its core.
  2. What Brooks manages to do with them as they struggle mightily to connect with one another is funny, painful, beautiful, and basically truthful--a triumph for everyone involved.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Nicholson, Hunt, and Kinnear will win you over as they turn the film into a valentine to New York's walking wounded.
  4. 70
    Appreciate it instead as an exceedingly well-crafted fairy tale, alive with eccentric, overdrawn Dickensian characters and irresistibly wholehearted sentiment, and you'll enjoy perhaps the most accomplished and satisfying work of Brooks' career as a middlebrow entertainer.
  5. A cute premise that, upon closer inspection, rings falser rather than truer. It's pretty good, but not nearly as good as Brooks gets.
  6. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    As Good as It Gets works: by the end you'll no doubt be won over by its cranky hero. But for those of us who cherish the quirkily unformulaic Brooks of old, it's a tainted victory.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    Experiencing this movie is a little like watching a manic-depressive's medication wear off.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Aug 27, 2014
    A masterpiece. One of the best written films of the modern era. The dialogue is astounding--with impressive performances from Nicholson, Hunt and Kinnear. Expand
  2. MelS.
    Mar 6, 2008
    This my favorite movie. Phenomenal actors portraying how hard it is, and how worth it is, to change.
  3. Mar 12, 2013
    Great film! Written very well and the acting was phenomenal from the leading cast. The characters feel real and I personally felt like I was part of the experience (which might just be me). A must watch for any serious movie fan. Expand
  4. Mar 24, 2011
    The first thing I asked myself after I saw this movie was - how good can Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, and Cuba Gooding be? Can they be any better? Director James L Brook's speciality is exploring the human psyche, emotions and portrayals of these many emotions and parts. Nicholson's Melvin Udall is an obsessive-compulsive disorder, frantic and unstable-yet-stable in his ways in life. I liked how Hunt gave life to her Carol Conelly's single mom-waitress act. I was a tad disappointed at the way how Carol's new boyfriend starts to make out - it just didn't fit with the Carol I saw, the Carol who's working many shifts to ensure that she has the money to afford her little boy's asthma treatment, as well as making sure she can also afford the day-to-day finance of her house, where her mom also lives in. I enjoyed Kinnear's 'Simon the **** portrayal, his subtle movements, his manner of speech and delivery, and his physical presence. Cuba Gooding has a very few scenes in the movie, but is no less memorable. I somehow felt that the second half was a little dull compared to the first, but maybe that's because the early fun of seeing Melvin Udall's 'disgrace of a human being' starts to mellow out, and the actual evolution of the movie's plot begins to grow. The screenplay was just strong enough for the material and characters at hand. Obviously, one cannot take one's eyes off Nicholson whenever he's on the screen, whether explaining in such clever sarcasm to Greg about why he works alone at night, or handling Greg's maid, or even when Carol confronts him with the 'you crazy ....' after he tells her quite insensitively that 'we all die, and from what I hear, your son will too'. It's hilarious and its hurtful, but that's the best part - Melvin Udall is a single man, and it's because of a reason - he's just impossible to get along with. It's not for a lack of trying, it's just that he has never met anyone who could show him the mirror and pick out the flaws in his face. Enter Carol, let the movie take its course, and you'll see just how one can change when one is receptive to one's environment. "You make me wanna be a better man" isn't just your standard movie cliched lines, it actually is resonant of Melvin's feelings towards Carol, and it is deeply moving how their relationship evolves and grows. Melvin's attachment to Simon's dog over time is moving and natural. Melvin feels something inside and he is grateful that he has a visitor in his house, and it is disturbingly pleasant. I've seen this movie time and again, because it is Nicholson and Hunt at their very best, and Brooks' direction at its most truthful and honest core. Expand
  5. Jul 24, 2013
    Very well scripted with some really great one-liners; mostly delivered by Jack Nicholson; although there is one point where Greg Kinnear does a rather good impression. Both Jack and Helen Hunt put in great performances that were worthy of praise. My main niggle is that it is way too long; it could have easily been shortened by at least 20 minutes and that would have maybe given it a little more punch. Not that I was bored you understand, far from it, I just felt it would have benefited from being a little shorter. Enough of that; it’s a very well made film with some excellent performances and a touching, well written, script. Well worth a look.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 7.7/10.
  6. Jun 5, 2012
    James L. Brooksâ
  7. Sep 15, 2013
    Though it won some Oscars, I hate this movie. Jack Nicholson is painful to watch, and Helen Hunt is only okay. Watching it feels like a medication wearing off. Expand

See all 24 User Reviews