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Only When I Laugh (1981)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  25 September 1981 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 781 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 4 critic

A boozy Broadway actress comes out of a 12-week cure to face the problems of her best friends as well as her needy daughter. She tries to balance the terrors of returning to work with the ... See full summary »

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Title: Only When I Laugh (1981)

Only When I Laugh (1981) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Georgia
...
Polly
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...
Toby
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David
...
Lou: an Actor
...
Boxing Fan in Bar
Ed Moore ...
Dr. Komack
Byron Webster ...
Tom
Peter Coffield ...
Mr. Tarloff
Mark Schubb ...
Adam Kasabian
Ellen La Gamba ...
Receptionist
...
Nurse Garcia
...
Manuel
Nancy Nagler ...
Heidi
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Storyline

A boozy Broadway actress comes out of a 12-week cure to face the problems of her best friends as well as her needy daughter. She tries to balance the terrors of returning to work with the demands of all around her with humor and insight, while staying off the booze. Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

new york city | based on play | See All (2) »

Taglines:

It'll make you laugh...'til you cry. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Only When I Laugh  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In its premiere engagement in America, this movie was released just six months before another filmed adaptation of a Neil Simon play, I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982). That movie was directed by Herbert Ross who had been the first choice to direct Only When I Laugh (1981). Both works predominantly dealt with the conflict between a daughter and a parent, the parent being a mother in Only When I Laugh (1981) and a father in I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982). Both parent characters also abuse alcohol. Both films are reconciliation movies; in each film, the parent and daughter have not seen each other for sixteen years. See more »

Goofs

In one of the opening scenes when Marsha Mason's character is leaving the "Betty Ford Clinic" of the time, there is an employee, Sandy, who passes her by the stairs says good-bye but addresses her as Mrs. Simon instead Mrs. Hines the character's real name. See more »

Quotes

Georgia: What is that crap you're putting on your face?
Toby: It is from Vienna. It is ninety dollars a tube, do you notice you never see a pore on my face.
Georgia: I've never even seen your face. Who are you, anyway?
Toby: [looking at Jimmy]
Georgia: Who is she? Do you know who she is?
Toby: They take it away form you soon enough. Hold onto it while you can.
See more »


Soundtracks

MACHINE GUN
Performed by Storm
Courtesy of MCA RECORDS
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User Reviews

 
Cheap shots
7 July 2007 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

Comedy-drama from writer Neil Simon, an expansion of his unsuccessful play "The Gingerbread Lady", has Marsha Mason playing an alcoholic Broadway star just checking out of rehab and back into reality when her estranged teenage daughter tells her she wants the two to be roommates. Fairly lively, bitchy film full of wisecracks and tears becomes flabby in the second and third acts, mostly due to poor editing which might have eliminated the dross (and a few side-plots that lead nowhere). Mason performs one too many dramatic monologues on the telephone, and there's a seven-minute waste of film involving two college guys trying to pick up Mason and daughter Kristy McNichol at a health food restaurant. The film has been designed to show off Mason's range (her vulnerability, her wiseass humor, her pathos, etc.). She's striking walking around New York City in her cape, less so when she's sniffling or giving an actors' seminar on the phone. Mason matches up perfectly with McNichol, but 17-year-old Kristy is shunted off to the side (and I disliked the padded sequence where she gets drunk like mamma). There are some fine moments here, but the picture gets off to a really bad start with an excruciating scene between James Coco and a Hispanic delivery boy. Simon takes one cheap shot after another, and yet the film isn't really about alcoholism at all, it's about masochistic behavior. **1/2 from ****


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