As Good As It Gets
Take the dog out of this film and what do you have? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Filmmakers like James L. ("Broadcast News") Brooks, knowing that their average audience is too stupid to understand the complexity of human existence, fall back to the number one rule of sucker filmmaking whenever possible and that is this:
Excerpted from the "Hollywood Guide to Sucker Filmmaking," p. 23.
"Rule No. 1 - Whenever possible, distract your audience away from the empty content of your story with as many cute animal shots as humanly possible."
This whole cute animal thing is supposed to provide a breather from the cruel antics of the central character, Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), who's a diagnosed obsessive-compulsive who takes his frustrations out on the world by being mean. He starts the film by throwing the cute dog down the trash chute, then calling his gay neighbor (Greg Kinnear) names. He then goes to his favorite diner and berates his waitress (Helen Hunt) - the only one in the place who will even deal with him.
"As Good As It Gets" perpetuates the Hollywood myth that cruel, ugly, pain-in-the-ass guys like Melvin Udall can bed gorgeous women like Helen Hunt. In film, the practice of ugly, freaky, older guys like Melvin pursuing beautiful women like Helen Hunt is called romantic comedy. In real life, it's called stalking.
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