James L Brooks conjures up a glorious dark comedy with a bravado performance from Jack Nicholson and a wonderfully sentimental Helen Hunt that rightfully won Oscars and is a complete joy to watch and laugh and maybe even shed a tear or two.
Opening with Jack Nicholson's Melvin treating his neighbour's dog with no respect whatsoever and seeing his immediate uncaring action delivers the tone for some dark no holds barred comedy.
Greg Kinnear's protagonist Simon is gay, which Melvin is always keen to mention. Where there has been a heavy stamp on homophobia in recent times it hasn't stopped films and TV shows ruling it out, Little Britain and Scrubs often include such ideologies which provide laughs and thankfully, this film knows it is taking the mike and respects the boundaries of sexual orientation without demeaning the character. The stand up at the end shows that sexual orientation is insignificant to a person anyway. Like Dogma, you can accept it seriously or not, and it is simply brilliant to not take it seriously, it is more enjoyable to take it as a comedy, not a drama.
Bar your gay jokes there is some wonderful comic acting from the stars to gain some chuckles. Nicholson's honest blurbs are hilarious, Hunt's bluntness with Melvin is charismatic and though his character can be annoying, Kinnear brings a slice of depression humour to the picture.
Sex, romance, bullying, robbery, dog bashing, obsessive compulsive disorder, racism and in general any ordinary situation like ordering food gets a full out comic depiction that is simply great. In a world that is confounded by rules it is great to see some people like to break them.
The plot itself keeps itself interesting through some cheeky styling of character development. Melvin is a cynical uncaring man and through a reluctant helpful act starts to learn the foundation of good will.
Hunt's Carol is also given a working over through some tough speeches of honesty and integrity that generate the soft side of the picture.
Her son with the illness is very touching and the improvement in time may well make you cry owing to some carefully thought out dialogue and scripting. From laying in bed, to attending school to playing football this slow progression of health to happiness is well and truly heart warming.
Nicholson is fantastic giving us that glorious knowing too much grin and Hunt is a shining mum figure and the supporting cast add some extra ounces of comedy and drama.
Brookes provides us with a glorious selection of scenes depicting the hard nature of OCD that all work out to make this a perfect orchestra of a comedy.