As Good as it Gets

February 13, 2013


Disclaimer: this movie is as Hollywood manufactured as they come. What do I mean? I do not, fortunately, suggest that it is over-indulgent in melodrama, begging to be nominated for best motion picture. But it is incredibly formulaic.


Even after viewing it for the first time, I am quite surprised the screenplay and film was nominated for academy awards. It is quite a routine story that would be typically churned out by the dream factory. The fact the academy was magnetized by it is befuddling.


What makes it so generic? The mechanical serpentine-plot which delivers comedy and drama at predictable intervals is a good place to start. For instance, at the onset of the film we can predict a visible portrayal of the protagonist’s character will be developed whereby he loses his dysfunction. The fact someone disabuses themselves from obsessive compulsive disorder so quickly from a small near-innocuous chain of events whereby he is forced to take care of a dog, is beyond disbelief suspension. It is Hollywood magic that a damaged character can be healed so quickly through, what exactly? Love?


The abrupt revolution by Jack Nicholson’s character Melvin is difficult to fathom. Likewise, it is difficult to fathom the instant romance he delivers to the female lead played well by Helen Hunt. The characters change on a dime from a hospitality-patron relationship to something much more serious. While Ms. Hunt’s character kicks and screams in the direction the script is taking her toward (akin to a character which is self-aware about their fate in a horror flick.) This romance is thinly masqueraded with artificial superlatives spouted by Melvin in her direction.


She is the best woman on the planet apparently, and none of us have received the memo. Conveniently, she falls for the line, as if she was born yesterday. Or perhaps she sees Melvin’s wealthy literary estate as something worth attaining not for herself, but for her child who she has devoted her life to?


Of course not. That is real drama. This script bars anything that is short of fairy-tale happiness to cater to middle-age film-goers looking for some fashionable escapism. In which case this film is a paragon. But is this a film worthy of the best film of the year? Hardly. It only exposes the political machine that drives the Academy.


Grade: C



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