Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
Watch On
  1. 100
    Smart, funny and often viciously cruel, this is a romantic comedy for people who are too old to believe in fairyales but wise enough to accept a happy ending when that's what life gives them.
  2. Reviewed by: Gene Siskel
    100
    A brash romantic comedy that has a serious purpose at its core.
  3. In As Good as It Gets, his (Brooks) mastery of the nuances of language and emotion has turned the most unlikely material into the best and funniest romantic comedy of the year.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Graham Verdon
    90
    Nicholson is near-perfect as he slowly allows callous cruelty to give way to vulnerability in one of the most original, idiosynchratic roles of the year.
  6. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    Nicholson, Hunt, and Kinnear will win you over as they turn the film into a valentine to New York's walking wounded.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    It's a case of actors and strong writing coming together, and it's uncommon in contemporary movies.
  8. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    80
    Over the course of two-and-a-half hours, the film not only gets up on wobbly legs but learns to dance by the closing credits.
  9. 80
    As funny as it's got all year. Manipulative and calculating? Sure. Submit! Enjoy!
  10. Reviewed by: Stephen Thompson
    80
    It all adds up to a compelling, deftly executed film that thoughtfully examines the actions and motivations that draw people together, directing their uneasy relationships.
  11. 75
    You'll laugh and cry at the film, but you'll bridle, too, at Brooks' clumsy technique.
  12. The result takes the audience on a screwball odyssey that mixes engaging twists with off-putting turns -- often fun, always watchable, but never quite as good as it could be.
  13. 75
    There's so much good here, in the dialogue, the performances and the observation, that the movie succeeds at many moments even while pursuing its doomed grand design.
  14. Reviewed by: Ruthe Stein
    75
    The movie often verges on being too much; Brooks' supreme balancing act is to keep it all under control.
  15. 75
    Not a positive triumph, but it does bring a smile to the face and, perhaps in some cases, a tear to the eye.
  16. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    70
    Even as you question the central premise, Brooks makes you want to buy into it.
  17. Reviewed by: Mary Brennan
    70
    It may be a very good, very Brooksian sitcom, but it's accomplished entirely with the broad strokes and resolutely flat surfaces of television.
  18. 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.
  19. A cute premise that, upon closer inspection, rings falser rather than truer. It's pretty good, but not nearly as good as Brooks gets.
  20. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    A sporadically funny romantic comedy with all the dramatic plausibility and tonal consistency of a TV variety show.
  21. Reviewed by: Janet Maslin
    60
    Wicked, but it works.
  22. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    60
    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.
  23. 60
    Billed cleverly as a comedy from the heart that goes for the throat. If only Brooks had had the guts to avoid the schmaltz.
  24. Nicholson, one of the best actors in American screen history, is miscast again… He is quite visibly uncomfortable in his role. It needed an actor who could easily be viciously stuffy, like William Hurt. Nicholson struggles for the core of the man but never gets it. [Feb. 2, 1998]
  25. Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    50
    The material has no dramatic center, a problem pointed up by Brooks' failed solution to it -- his use of an ugly-cute little dog, Simon's pet.
  26. Gets bogged down in sentimentality, while its wheels spin futilely in life-solving overdrive.
  27. Reviewed by: Sandra Contreras
    50
    An overstatement. The movie's too long, and the direction is sometimes slack -- but the script is crammed with withering ripostes, ably delivered by Nicholson and Hunt.
  28. Nicholson's over-the-top acting gives an entertaining edge to the plot's feel-good manipulations.
  29. In between all the laughs and tears, it becomes painfully obvious that there's not a whole lot of story here to prop up the constant emotional yanking.
  30. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    20
    Experiencing this movie is a little like watching a manic-depressive's medication wear off.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 143 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. Aug 7, 2012
    8
    As good as it gets is a pretty good and unique movie, that will leave movie fans happy at the end, especially because of its heart warmingAs good as it gets is a pretty good and unique movie, that will leave movie fans happy at the end, especially because of its heart warming final scene. Full Review »
  2. Oct 25, 2014
    10
    Ok, this movie is simply a masterpiece all the way around! The writing, the acting, the risk-taking. It does an incredible job of presentingOk, this movie is simply a masterpiece all the way around! The writing, the acting, the risk-taking. It does an incredible job of presenting the character complexity of three 'broken' people which start to be healed by each other through, well friendship / love. The thing that is so cool is there are no actual 'one-liners' per say. The comedy is about the irony of the characters and the situation of the scene itself. For instance, Melvin Udall has no clue how to deal with normal social situations, causing rage reactions from everything that comes out of his mouth, yet he's a successful 'romance novelist' that understands the heart and head of woman — subtle but super hilarious! A must see. Full Review »
  3. Oct 7, 2014
    2
    Horrible, whiny, implausible. Who is not annoying in this thing? We suffer, the DOG suffers. Yet another fantasy of a grumpy old guy beingHorrible, whiny, implausible. Who is not annoying in this thing? We suffer, the DOG suffers. Yet another fantasy of a grumpy old guy being forgiven for his utterly misanthropic actions by a beautiful woman 20 or more years his junior. Maybe some interesting points to be made about the mentally ill, but it isn't comedy and it sure did not need to be this long! Full Review »