Disfunction as an Aphrodisiac: “As Good As It Gets” (1997)


     In this James L. Brooks film which is far more relaxed in its sheer entertainment value than its problematic elements have a right to be, the modern updating of movie romantic comedy gets a dousing of Colorful Character Syndrome overkill (When the normally frenetically ebullient Cuba Gooding , Jr. emerges as the sanest person in the room, you know you’re in for a carnival ride.), with the combination of missed matched acclaimed novelist and OCD patient Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson, who at this point in his career needs no additional prodding excuses to wag his eyebrows about the screen like the Tasmanian Devil on steroids) and bitter, lonely hearted waitress with a seriously sickly child, Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt, quite good with the more vulnerable passages of her character, though less convincing during her more strident outbursts), and the able presence of a neighboring gay artist who was savagely beaten by thieves, Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear, flawless in bringing the full range of internal emotional depth- not merely played flamboyantly on his sleeve as has been the insulting tradition of homosexually uncomfortable Hollywood  -to what, by all rights, should be a secondary character [tantamount to the traditional wisecracking sidekicks of the genre] who nevertheless becomes the focal point around which the other characters are able to draw the courage to advance the tentative expression of their own repressed vulnerabilities), all of whom, by  convenient though improbable circumstance, find themselves on a road trip to Baltimore in order for Simon to get help from his long estranged parents; a situation which involves a lurid history of nude maternal modeling and paternal angst. 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/the concession-stand-quick-snack-reviews/the-concession-stand-ii-the-return-of-quick-nibble-reviews/

About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in acting, comedy, Film, Film Reviews, Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Romance, women, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Disfunction as an Aphrodisiac: “As Good As It Gets” (1997)

  1. beetleypete says:

    Fair review Chandler. I never expected to like this film, but I did. A lot.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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