I went to the movies last week to see "As Good As It Gets." I had seen lots of previews, read some reviews, I love Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear, and I heard it was nominated for a million awards. What could possibly go wrong? For starters, it's lousy.
The first 20 minutes were pretty good. It's amusing to see obsessive-compulsive Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) dodge cracks in the sidewalk, perform a ritual to lock his doors, and bring plastic utensils to restaurants. We meet his stereotypically gay neighbor (Kinnear) and the closest thing he has to a friend (Hunt). He gives us a great sense of his bitterness and hatred of the outside world. But after twenty minutes, we've seen the whole plot.
On one hand, the three main characters are pretty well-developed, and we get a sense of who they are and the obstacles that challenge them. But nothing happens. All there is is a bunch of realistic, but boring dialogue where people complain and cry a lot. But just when you think the film at least has a grip on reality, it kills that with a completely and totally happy, Hollywood predictable ending. Everything works out, everyone's happy, all problems are solved.
In general, it's just your typical bad movie. It's too long - the dialogue stretches way too thin in several scenes with the characters talking with absolutely nothing significant to say. It's not funny, which isn't essential to a good movie, but never hurts. And it doesn't give the viewer anything to hold onto when it's over.
I'm sitting in my seat, bored out of my mind thinking about what that eight bucks could have been spent on instead, but I keep telling myself to hold on because something's going to happen to put it all in perspective and I'll realize the moral the movie was trying to prove. But when the credits finally roll, all I can do is gag at the thought of Helen Hunt having to settle for Jack Nicholson. I mean, if someone so young and beautiful has to take a man 30 years older, what hope is there for the rest of us? .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.