By now you are probably sick of hearing about how good this movie is, and I have to agree that I am sick as well of the hype. But my reviews struggle (sometimes fruitlessly) against the hype!
I have found, in recent years, two truths in the cinema: 1. Jack Nicholson has never recovered from the way-over-the-top role of The Joker and has become increasingly difficult to watch and 2. Greg Kinnear is a shallow bit of fluff.
BOTH those truths were out the door with this movie. Jack has finally met his match with a complicated role which I am convinced few besides him could manage. Melvin is loathsome, tactless, fussy, weird, and yet totally understandable, layered, and interesting, even sympathetic.
As for Kinnear, well, I saw Dear God, and I have to say that this, my friends, is the acting he was supposed to have been doing. Helen Hunt is great too – I know many will argue with me, but I found her pragmatic yet idiosyncratic Jamie Buchman all over her character. Not that I minded, OK, I just want you guys to know that I actually thought she stretched more to be less like herself in Twister. Her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes was very…her.
This is not criticism per se, just facts. I found the situations and dialogue interesting, and the whole development of irritating loony as emotional center to the film to be fascinating.
Plus it’s funny and entertaining and witty and pretty to look at to boot. It’s a tad outlandish, but one would expect the life and lives surrounding the life of a man like Melvin to be unusual.
One complaint – many of the best lines in the movie were featured in the preview, and that fact actually robs them of their emotional impact when they occur in the movie. Going to as many movies as I do, I saw the preview easily 20-30 times. Maybe for the more normal the moments won’t be as ruined – or, since the movie has been out since forever (I won’t tell you when I *actually* saw it but rest assured it was not in the past 3 weeks), you have forgotten the preview.
I recommend it. It may not ring as hard core reality to you, but it does contain many truths about people.
MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 12/23/97
Time in minutes 138
Director James L. Brooks
Studio TriStar Pictures