UK Release date: 13th March 1997
Watched on Terrestrial PVR Wednesday 24th July 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Scooping Oscars for both leading roles, I guess this one was bound to end up on ‘The List’ despite being a Romantic Comedy; a genre not often visited by this amateur critic. I have to say though, I’m finding them not quite as bad as I had feared (there may be more in the future – be warned). I found this one witty, charming and over all a decent watch; although there was one minor niggles. More of that later, after this very brief summary.
Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a writer of romantic fiction but knows very little about women. He’s very misanthropic, that is to say; antisocial, unfriendly, morose, surly (take your pick). On top of that he has OCD and finds it hard to function in the outside world; stepping on cracks in the pavement is a definite no-no. He likes routine and every day he goes to a certain diner where he likes to sit in a certain seat and have the same waitress, Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), serve him. His world is turned upside down when his gay neighbour, Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear) is beaten up and Melvin is forced to look after his dog by Simon’s friend, art dealer, Frank Sachs (Cuba Gooding Jr.). For some reason the dog brings out a softer side of Melvin and he begins doing things that are way out of character. He arranges a doctor for Carol’s sick son, Spencer (Jesse James) and even helps Simon out when he returns from hospital. But will a road trip with Carol and Simon bring Melvin and Carol closer together? Or will his straight-talking mess things up again?
Very well scripted with some really great one-liners; mostly delivered by Jack Nicholson; although there is one point where Greg Kinnear does a rather good impression. Both Jack and Helen Hunt put in great performances that were worthy of praise. My main niggle is that it is way too long; it could have easily been shortened by at least 20 minutes and that would have maybe given it a little more punch. Not that I was bored you understand, far from it, I just felt it would have benefited from being a little shorter. Enough of that; it’s a very well made film with some excellent performances and a touching, well written, script. Well worth a look.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.7/10.
IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 165,708 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 67/100: (Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 81/100 (based on 375,290 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at: