As Good As It Gets

Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: James L. Brooks

REVIEWED: 01-12-98

This is one of the first films in what promises to be a rich and varied genre--the Prozac movie. Jack Nicholson plays Melvin Udall, a really mean novelist with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a razor-sharp wit. The first half of As Good As It Gets, before the guy gets medicated, is honestly funny. Udall is the prototypical nasty New Yorker. He's fair, too. He hates everyone equally. But a saucy waitress (Helen Hunt) makes him "want to be a better man," and, in the style of Awakenings, he begins to snap out of his dark, dank little world. The second half of the movie is less funny than the first; Helen Hunt does okay in short scenes but becomes insufferable when she's on screen too long. And of course, she's way too young for Nicholson. Still, he is in rare form in this movie, charming and repulsive both, and there are plenty of genuine comic moments. This is about as good as it gets for seven bucks at the multiplex these days.

--Richter

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