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Review of As Good as It Gets

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I saw this back when it was a fairly new movie, I think somebody in the family rented it. Back then I did not care for it at all, particularly not the characters played by Helen Hunt (whose performance I found extremely overrated) or Greg Kinnear.

This ended up being another movie I had to watch in class in 2015. I will say, the second time around was a lot more enjoyable. In this case I think it was good that we watched it in German, because I did not have to hear Helen Hunt flatly wailing about why she can't find a boyfriend. The German voice-over actress was not spectacular, but at least she did not have a flat voice. It made the character of Carol slightly more tolerable.

I hated the character of Simon the first time around and the second time around too. I hated how other characters treated him almost like a child and how he seemed to expect a lot more from other characters than he gave in return.

I don't really remember what I felt about Jack Nicholson's character the first time around, but the second time around, I did find Melvin interesting and layered. I hated a line he had early on in the film where he insulted Jews, as it seemed like "we" were supposed to like him for the rest of the movie, so why include that? He insults Simon too, but at least seems to learn the error of his ways, there.

The best parts of the movie by far were "friendship" that develops between Melvin and Simon's dog (who Melvin ends up sitting for and walking after Simon gets injured). By allowing himself to get close to the dog, Melvin slowly starts opening up more to people, such as Carol (the waitress at his favorite diner) and Simon himself.

As a unit, Melvin and Carol are decently interesting together and I didn't mind Melvin and Simon (although I hated in scenes when Simon whined and yelled at Melvin like a sullen teenager.) Simon and Carol, on the other hand, were extremely dull together and Carol's home life did not especially captivate me either (while it is likely very stressful having a son with a long-term illness, Carol was at times very shrill about it and vaguely acted as if she was the only person in the world with such problems. The son, while thankless, at least seemed decent enough.)

In spite of all of the negative things I am managing to find about "As Good as it Gets," it really isn't as bad as I am making it sound. It is well directed with a nice soundtrack and Jack Nicholson (and the German voice actor) really does a nice job in the role of Melvin. As I said, it is especially worthwhile watching him and the dog, particularly his moving and realistic reaction after the dog is returned to Simon. One of Simon's few redeeming qualities was allowing Melvin to walk the dog. I would have preferred more Melvin and less of his friends. Therefore, I will give it a 6 1/2 out of 10 stars
Added by mkusa
2 years ago on 16 September 2015 17:24


Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Sep 17 0:46
I haven't seen it in AGES (and thus, my rating is still based on my last viewing, so... rather low) but I suppose I'd give it another try some day. Though I'd prefer to watch it in German. For some reason, I remember in one scene (I think when Jack Nicholson was walking the dog) a child extra having a very hammy expression. (?!)

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