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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 790 users  
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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
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Polly
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...
Toby
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David
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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:

Kristy McNichol is a daughter who never had a childhood. Marsha Mason is a mother who never grew up. And when they get together, they're the most mismatched roomates since "The Goodbye Girl". See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Only When I Laugh  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was made and released about a decade after its source play "The Gingerbread Lady" by Neil Simon was first performed in December 1970. The play opened on Broadway on 13th December 1970 and played 193 performances until 29th May 1971 when it closed. Thomas S. Hischak in his book "American Theatre: a Chronicle of Comedy and Drama 1969-2000 (2001)" said the play ran "a disappointing five months, the shortest run yet for a Simon play." "The Gingerbread Lady" is considered one of Simon's few flops, Simon extensively re-wrote it for this feature film adaptation. Susan Fehrenbacher Koprince, Associate Professor of English at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, has said that the movie "is radically changed" from "The Gingerbread Lady" and used "less than half" of the play for the film. 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

Bartender: What's the problem?
Georgia: Do you see cigarettes? That's the problem.
Bartender: How much money did you put in?
Georgia: Twelve dollar like it says.
See more »


Soundtracks

HEART
from "DAMN YANKEES"
Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
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User Reviews

Palpable Transition from Stage to Screen
23 October 2003 | by (Houston, TX) – See all my reviews

Only When I Laugh is the film version of Neil Simon's The Gingerbread Lady. Unfortunately, the title isn't the only difference. While the original play deals with the seriousness of substance abuse and co-dependancy, its film counterpart plays it more for laughs - think The Goodbye Girl II, complete with the lead character's change in occupation from cabaret singer to stage actress and the same neurotic frenzy Marsha Mason brought to the role of Paula McFadden. It's the story of Georgia, a recovering alcoholic fresh from rehab, who's teenage daughter Polly decides to come live with her. While the two are working out the whole mother-daughter bit, Georgia finds herself too caught up in the miserable lives of her gay, unsuccessful actor friend Jimmy and her vain yet insecure rich, female best friend Tobey. There are some fantastic performances in this film, especially Joan Hackett as Tobey. Neil Simon, known for memorable monologues, wrote some his finest for the play, and they transfer quite well to film.


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