Director - James L Brooks
Jack Nicholson is a crazy old man isn't he. He's always been a crazy old man.
He was a crazy old man in the 70's
He was a crazy old man in the 80's
He is also fascinating to watch. Something about his face. His eyebrows and his teeny tiny eyes and his ENORMOUS creepy grin.
His, is a face you can look at forever because he manages act with parts of your head which shouldn't be acting:
In this film, Nicholson plays a grumpy old curmudgeon and the film is set in a weird tone, begin with some brilliant dog-based toilet humour, but also factoring in some uncomfortable (hilariously uncomfortable at times) homophobia and racism towards his neighbours.
Of course, this is Hollywood and grumpy old curmudgeons can't stay grumpy forever. So, after a surprisingly brutal scene, Nicholson is left looking after the stupidest dog in the world!
Now - it turns out the dog is a Brussels Griffon.... but look at its doggy face. It is the stupidest dog in the world....
And so, looking at my notes, I seem to have become fixated with the dog. I even drew sketches of the dog.
I think the reason was that I didn't want to focus on the main story.
The main story sees Nicholson soften into a nicer more likeable guy as he goes on a roadtrip with Helen Hunt's waitress (what he fancies) and his gay neighbour (or Gaybour) played by Greg Kinnear.
In this, the typical happens.
Now call me naive, but I sort of hoped that Nicholson's character would see the good that he was doing. Would see the relationships he was helping to form and this would soften his character. He'd leave with two new friends and a changed outlook on the world.
But no... THERE HAS TO BE A FUCKING LOVE ANGLE DESPITE THE FACT THAT NICHOLSON IS 26 YEARS OLDER THAN HUNT.... this is never mentioned. He is old enough to be her dad and he is horrible.... and yet Hunt fancies him right up.
At one point, Nicholson's character meets Hunt's mother.... I thought that would lead to romance.... an interesting (and fitting) relationship.
There are also interesting moments which are downplayed - Greg Kinnear's artist finds his muse in Helen Hunt's character. This gives us one scene of cheeky nudity and hunt-boob, but very little in the way of story or character notes.
its all bumped out of the way for this
And this cheapens the whole film for me. I like the idea of Nicholson curing (or at least controlling) his OCDs - I like the idea of him becoming a nicer person.
But I'd much rather it was friendship which changed him. Or even a silly little dog.
Because those changes become much less poignant when the motivation is clear:
Jack just wants to stick his Nicholson in to Helen's Hunt.