Title: As Good As It Gets
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: James L. Brooks
James L. Brooks
Music: Hans Zimmer
Cinematography: John Bailey
Cuba Gooding Jr.
James L. Brooks’ mammoth flop HOW DO YOU KNOW (2010) has again put his prestigious laurels of an Academy-winning director into a precipice, after his grotesquely mawkish SPANGLISH (2004), spanning his entire 30 years career, he has only directed 6 films so far, half of which are mediocre dross (said two films plus I’LL DO ANYTHING 1994), lucky AS GOOD AS IT GETS is not among them, and has truly extracted the top form from its stars Oscar-winning stars and Verdell the little doggie.
The “impossible pair” setting is always a most common yet compelling stunt in a rom-com, while usually male plays a dominant part, and female part takes some moral advantage to keep the balance as equally as possible to avoid any sexism accusations. So in this storyline, Jack Nicholson’s unmarried compulsive writer resembles Shelton Cooper from THE BIG BANG THEORY, maybe we could divine Shelton’s senior life like that, his own routine cannot be breached and he maintains nonchalant towards the people and happenings around him, Helen Hunt’s single-mother waitress with an ailed kid, has the worst case scenario at hand, but clearly is the best woman in the planet with all the carefully-embellished merits, could be even the muse for the destitute artist, which can be a smart move to get approve from the most of the female demography. Then a third factor is Greg Kinnear’s gay artist, which may seem to be the weakest among the trinity, but as the representative perspective from the minority group, his mayhem serves as a more evocative agent to be viewed as the rosy prospect of gay right even in today’s time.
The performances are marvelous, for Nicholson, maybe not his career-best, but suffices all the accolade he received for his wacky but arresting antics, and his third Oscar win is fairly acceptable; Hunt is on the other hand, adding more intimate revelation and vigor to her ostensibly soppy role, I have no grudge towards her win (but my pick is still Helena Bonham Carter from THE WINGS OF THE DOVE 1997); then Kinnear, whose career-best has emerged too fast and a comeback seems to be a rather long shot now.
Virtually all the achievements should be owed to its script, very resourceful and operative, as for the director work, Mr. Brooks’ journeyman dexterity has no mistakes but surely is not a novelty in this case.