Reviews ...

"As Good as it Gets" Is Good Enough

... a pair of Oscars for Hunt and Nicholson.

By Morris Wattenberg 

A writer of romantic novels, Jack Nicholson, is overcome by dour reality, and shows it in his wasp-tongued comments about his neighbors in a West Village apartment building in New York. Most cringe at his scoring points with his put-downs. Only waitress Helen Hunt snaps back, a prelude to better things in the future.

The thrust and parry game does have a happy ending, but this is a 15-rounder, with Hunt taking the decision. Nicholson comes to see this single mother with an asthmatic son as a reflection, perhaps, of a social being with important needs, even worthy of a romantic heroine.

A sympathetic homosexual artist is nicely limned by Greg Kinnear. What is a crowning glory for the film is its winning of two Oscar prizes, for Nicholson and Hunt - fully merited. It's not easy to play a role of an aging malcontent who yields to humanistic impulses molded by a warm-hearted younger woman. But Nicholson adds this to his many triumphs. And Hunt, from the popular sit-come "Mad About You", is equal to the challenge of making a stressed-out working mother real and appealing.

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