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As Good as It Gets (1997)

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A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.

Director:

James L. Brooks

Writers:

Mark Andrus (story), Mark Andrus (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,179 ( 71)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 36 wins & 53 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Melvin Udall
Helen Hunt ... Carol Connelly
Greg Kinnear ... Simon Bishop
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Frank Sachs
Skeet Ulrich ... Vincent
Shirley Knight ... Beverly
Yeardley Smith ... Jackie
Lupe Ontiveros ... Nora
Jill the Dog ... Verdell (as Jill)
Timer the Dog Timer the Dog ... Supporting Dog (as Timer)
Billy the Dog Billy the Dog ... Supporting Dog (as Billy)
Bibi Osterwald ... Neighbor Woman
Ross Bleckner Ross Bleckner ... Carl
Bernadette Balagtas ... Caterer
Jaffe Cohen ... Partygoer
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Storyline

New York City. Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer, finds his life turned upside down when neighboring gay artist Simon is hospitalized and his dog is entrusted to Melvin. In addition, Carol, the only waitress who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Brace yourself for Melvin. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for strong language, thematic elements, nudity and a beating | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Old Friends See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,606,928, 28 December 1997

Gross USA:

$148,478,011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$314,178,011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Entertainment Weekly listed the film under its original title, "Old Friends", in their fall movie preview from the August 22/29, 1997 issue. James L. Brooks felt that the title "just doesn't say it for me." Brooks considered several other titles, including "Rock Bottom" and "The Bright Side of Life", but couldn't best the original title. Eventually, the film earned the new title, in time for posters and trailers to be released. See more »

Goofs

When Melvin is sitting in the cafe talking to Carol, he removes his glasses and begins to unbutton his breast pocket. In the next shot, his pocket is still buttoned. And in the next, it is unbuttoned as he puts his glasses in. See more »

Quotes

Carol Connelly: A compliment is something nice about somebody else.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In cast credits dogs are credited as: Verdell - Jill Supporting dogs - Timer, Billy See more »

Connections

Referenced in This Is Us: Career Days (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS (I LOVE YOU)
Written by Deek Watson and Willie Best (as William Best)
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole (as Nat King Cole)
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
As Good as Romantic Comedies Get
18 October 2004 | by CurtMan@LVCM.comSee all my reviews

"As Good As It Gets" boasts a splendid, delightful combination of wonderful, zesty acting and a remarkably bright and effective screenplay. Jack Nicholson is pitch-perfect as the obsessive-compulsive curmudgeon Melvin Udall, who possesses some of the strangest and most curious tendencies ever concocted by screenwriters; his Udall is so human, so heartfelt, so genuine, and so whimsical and Nicholson perfects him to such a degree that not a moment of his screen time is unwanted or uninteresting: in my valid opinion, this is Nicholson's best performance of his career, and one of the most reverent performances in film history. What an engaging, enthralling story: an troubled, insecure man helps a troubled, insecure waitress (troubled and insecure in different respects), and the two form an unlikely relationship from being distant acquaintances (Hunt even exclaims that Nicholson is crazy in their most uncomfortable moment in the film) to practical soul mates (Nicholson to Hunt: "I feel that I'm the only person that knows that you are the greatest woman alive"), through a series of misfortunes, self-explorations, and mutual bondings. Kinnear's character Simon has the distinct purpose in being both the bridge and the divider of Nicholson and Hunt's relationship, and he identifies with his character with compassion and understanding, as he has frequently been wronged throughout his existence. The most curious aspect to a story such as this, involving such unduly, diverse characters: a miserable recluse, a zesty, yet insecure waitress, and a sensitive and insightful, yet wronged homosexual, is that in their distinct differences, they share many of the same problems, and these problems eventually bring them all together, although hardly in a civilized manner. I appreciated practically every element in this wonderful, delightful masterpiece of exemplary romantic comedy, in its indelible acting (Oscars well deserved), its whimsical, touching screenplay (This was neons above "Good Will Hunting"'s quality) and its comforting morale, that despite all of the great odds in life which prevent us from being happy, we can perhaps find it within ourselves to take that one important step in reversing our fortunes, in "stopping with taking pills" and to allow our lives, and our desires to shine and be realized, as this story depicts life. The best romantic comedy, certainly the best film of 1997, and one of the greatest films of all time, "As Good As It Gets" succeeds in practically every entertaining and endearing cinematic respect. **** out of ****


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