[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/as-good-as-it-gets-with-a-brussels-griffon4_1272.jpg]]

->''"A Comedy From the Heart That Goes For the Throat"''

''As Good As It Gets'' is a 1997 RomCom from the mind of Creator/JamesLBrooks, and starring JackNicholson, Helen Hunt, and Greg Kinnear. Featuring a relatively small cast, the crux of the story revolves around a reclusive novelist named Melvin Udall: his harassment of his neighbour, Simon (Kinnear) and his [[strike: fixation]] dependence on Carol Connolly (Hunt), a down on her luck single mom with a perennially-ill son. The main characters are as follows:

--Melvin Udall (Nicholson): a reclusive, Obsessive-Compulsive bigot and, in classic Nicholson style, the name at the top of the marquee; Udall also happens to be his publisher's highest-selling novelist (62 books, on par with Creator/StephenKing, for a sense of scale), and chronically dependent on waitress Carol Connolly, who waits on him--patiently--in the Manhattan restaurant at which he dines daily.

--Carol Connolly (Hunt): a beleaguered single mom, working a comfortable (if somewhat unfulfilling) waitress job at a Manhattan diner. Melvin's chosen waitress--for little other reason than his OCD-fuelled dependence on her, and, at least in his mind, her willingness to put up with him. Lives with her mother and chronically-ill son, Spencer, in Brooklyn.

--Simon Bishop (Kinnear): Melvin's neighbor. A painter whose two passions in life are his beloved Brussels-Griffon, Verdell, and painting. His dreams get dashed violently when a street ruffian and his friends rob Simon and beat him to within an inch of his life. Hereafter, while Simon's away getting treated, Verdell the dog falls under the care of Melvin--who has trouble adjusting. Then gets over it. Then has trouble dealing with the absence in his life once Verdell goes back to Simon.

From here, RuleOfDrama ensues. Being a Creator/JamesLBrooks production, natch, it intersperses all the emotional weight with heaping doses of [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome awesome]] & [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming heartwarming.]] Also, [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome the soundtrack]], by no less than HansZimmer, is also the [[UnusualEuphemism kitty's pajamas.]]

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!!The film provides examples of the following:

* AntiHero: Melvin is a homophobic, racist and misanthropic man who puts off the neighbors in his apartment building and nearly everyone else with whom he comes into contact. However, he becomes more gentle towards the end.
--> '''Melvin''': I've got JEWS at my table!
** And :
--> '''Simon''': Which colour was that ?
--> '''Melvin''': [Talking about the skin of a black man] Like THICK MOLAAAASSES with a broad nose. Perfect for smelling trouble and prison food.
* BerserkButton: Carol is as patient as one can humanly be when dealing with Melvin, but when he makes a snarky comment that everyone eventually will die, including her sick son, she chews him out in public, with a PrecisionFStrike (as an noun towards Melvin). It is such a shock that even Melvin is rendered speechless, and quietly apologizes.
** Also, don't interrupt Melvin while he's writing.
* BigDamnKiss: Carol to Melvin at the restaurant.
* BigShutUp: Melvin to the schoolkids running behind Carol and parroting her cries of "Melvin, wait!"
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Simon's manager Frank likes to play as if he's kind, caring, and attentive, but he consistently avoids actually having to do anything to be helpful himself, going so far as to threaten Melvin into forcing him to be the good guy.
** There's also Frank's reaction to the elderly lady declining to take care of Verdell: "Old bitch!"
* CampGay: Melvin certainly seems to think Simon is one. Aside from a positively {{Squick}}y attachment to his dog, he's fairly straight up.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: ''Everyone!''
** Simon's back story involved his childhood pastime of painting his mother in the nude. [[FreudWasRight His dad didn't approve.]]
** We never find out much about Melvin before the events of the film, but he admits in one scene that his father used to beat him on the hands with a yardstick whenever Melvin made a mistake playing the piano. Also, his father didn't leave his room for eleven years.
** Carol's past is mostly an InformedAbility, revolving around her current SingleMom-ness and her attachment to her son. The earliest date she mentions is Spencer being six months old, and even then, it's an afterthought to the big problem of his illness.
** Frank ''briefly'' references having one, but he may just be pretending to be a ScaryBlackMan to keep Melvin from picking on Simon so much.
* DeadpanSnarker: Pretty much every character in the film but especially Melvin.
* DisappearedDad: The father of Spencer, Carol's son, is never mentioned or seen. It may be that, given Spencer's health problems, he ran out on them.
* DisneyDogFight: A twist on this is done between Verdell (the dog) and Simon and Melvin, as Melvin was trying ''not'' to win to cheer Simon up.
* DoubleTake: A passerby gives one at Carol's breasts; a rain-soaked Carol finds this odd, but it's because she doesn't realize her breasts are showing through [[SexySoakedShirt her wet T-shirt]].
* DysfunctionJunction
* {{Facepalm}}: Carol does this when Melvin yells an order to a waiter across the room at dinner.
* {{Gayngst}}: Lampshaded when straight Melvin asks Simon after all the horrible things that have happened to him if he thinks his life would have been easier if he were straight, which causes Simon to ask back: "Do you consider your life ''easy''?"
* GilliganCut: Carol shoots down Melvin's invite to come with him and Simon to Maryland; it then cuts to her packing for the trip.
* GoodIsNotNice: Melvin and how!!
* [[GrandmaWhatMassiveHotnessYouHave Grandpa, What Massive Hotness You Have]]:
-->'''Carol''': ''When you first came into the restaurant, I thought you were handsome. [[DeadpanSnarker And then you spoke.]]''
* HatesBeingTouched: Melvin
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: ''Melvin'', and "jerk" may be too light a term. Once they get back from Maryland, we notice the changes for the better.
** Also counts as CharacterDevelopment, since for the previous two hours of movie, he excelled at {{Jerkass}}ery whenever possible.
* LickedByTheDog: It's Verdell that first gets to soften Melvin.
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: When Melvin and Simon return from Maryland, an attentive viewer will notice that Melvin [[spoiler: does not go through his lock routine when he closes the door]]. Melvin doesn't realize this until a couple of scenes later and it counts as his EurekaMoment, realizing he's changed for good.
* MoodWhiplash: Played for laughs in the first scene; Melvin's elderly neighbor is all smiles about tulip season but immediately spots Melvin, mutters "Son of a bitch", and slams the door.
** At least twice during the conversation between Melvin and Carol in the restaurant in Baltimore. Carol goes from neutral to angry to completely besotted to ''furious''.
* MsFanservice: There really is no reason for Carol to get a SexySoakedShirt scene or prepare to bathe in front of Simon other than it appeals to the audience.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Melvin often undoes his good deeds immediately because he can't keep his snarky comments in check (and doesn't know how to be tactful in social situations). While taking Carol out to dinner, he complains offhandedly that he had to buy a dinner jacket while they let her wear a "housedress", which pisses her off. Then when he gives her the "best compliment of her life" moments later (see NoMedicationForMe) and getting a BigDamnKiss, he again negates it by suggesting that Carol should have sex with Simon.
* NippleAndDimed: One of the rare examples of this happening in a non-R rated film; just as Carol knocks on Melvin's door she realizes in rapid order that A, her shirt is soaking wet; B, she isn't wearing a bra; and C, she's very cold(if you take our meaning). The only option she can come up with is to grab her shirt and hold it away from her breasts for the duration of their talk.
* NoMedicationForMe: A rare and awesome {{subver|tedTrope}}sion in Melvin's speech complimenting Carol.
-->'''Melvin:''' I've got this, what--ailment? My doctor, a shrink that I used to go to all the time, he says that in fifty or sixty percent of the cases, a pill really helps. I '''hate''' pills, very dangerous thing, pills. Hate. I'm using the word "hate" here, about pills. Hate. My compliment is, that night when you came over and told me that you would never... well, you were there, you know what you said. Well, my compliment to you is, the next morning, I started taking the pills.
-->'''Carol:''' I don't quite get how that's a compliment for me.
-->'''Melvin:''' You make me want to be a better man.
* OhCrap: When Melvin's setting himself out at his table and doing his little ramble about how everyone's going to die and he gets to how Carol's son is likely to soon, almost as soon as it's out of his mouth he stops and his eyes widen and his lips go slack, realizing he's gone too far.
* OscarBait: For reasons that have mostly to do with Creator/JackNicholson. Oh, it also won for Best Actor and Best Actress.
* PetHomosexual: Simon is a {{Deconstruction}} of this character type. [[spoiler:Essentially what happens when the PetHomosexual has a HeroicBSOD and [[TheDogBitesBack starts biting back]].]]
* PrecisionFStrike: Three times (bucking the usual PG-13 rule), but especially this:
--> '''Carol:''' Fucking HMO bastard pieces of shit!
--> '''Carol's Mom:''' Carol!
--> '''Carol:''' Sorry.
-->'''Doctor:''' It's okay. Actually, I think that's their technical name.
* SexForServices: Carol thinks Melvin is only supplying a house-call doctor for her son because of this and even point-blank tells him it won't work ("I will never have sex with you, NEVER!"), but it's just because Melvin needs her back at his restaurant. And that underneath it all, there may be a heart of gold that actually does care for her.
* SexySoakedShirt: Carol gets one after running in the rain to get to Melvin's apartment.
* ShownTheirWork: Yes, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, though it manifests differently in each case, is presented fairly spot-on here.
* TitleDrop: Melvin says "What if this is as good as it gets?" in a psychiatrist's waiting room.
* TookALevelInKindness: Frank lampshades this to Melvin, laughing about all the nice things he's doing despite the gruff demeanor.
* UnderdressedForTheOccasion: Melvin on his dinner date with Carol.
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