11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Time for another viewing?,
This review is from: As Good As It Gets [DVD]  (DVD)
Some films need seeing more than once to fully appreciate them... and here's one. First time through the superb black comedy of this story of Melvin Udall - "a truly awful human being" - dominates your reactions. His incredible rudeness to everyone around him is unexpected, shocking and very, very funny and the tension & laughs it generates grab your immediate and undivided attention but mean you miss a lot on the way.
Second time through the sheer excellence of the acting really hits home. Nicholson's interpretation of Udall's incredibly complex character is superb while Helen Hunt's portrayal of a desperately lonely waitress who's inextricably drawn to him and Greg Kinnear's portrayal of a gay artist struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and Udall's incessant verbal abuse are believable and beautifully touching. And then there's the gay artist's dog... putting in an Oscar level tour de force in the "Best Supporting Canine" section, plus excellent cameo performances from just about everyone else involved. Still very funny but, devoid of the shock of it all, you've got time to fully appreciate the quality of what's on offer and how the characters combine to produce a genuinely moving, multi-layered story about people's need for love and affection.
And then... well there's more to come because as you go back and explore it once again you'll still be laughing - which is some feat for any comedy film - but you may also start to realise that things are not quite as straightforward as you thought. Udall gets the girl he wants but at no time during their relationship does he do anything that isn't based on total self-interest - in fact the only genuine tenderness he shows is towards the dog and, in the end, to the gay artist, leaving you wondering whether in addition to being a suppressed dog lover he may also be a suppressed gay, or indeed whether self interest isn't such a bad thing if it also gives other people what they want, or... maybe not? One thing's for certain: it's getting much deeper, more complex and more thought-provoking than it all seemed to be. Time for another viewing?