This movie has a bad rep (see Leonard Maltin's guide), but if you liked Herb Gardner's "A Thousand Clowns," you will find similar pleasures here. Great writing from Gardner, with periodic laugh-out-loud lines. The cast works well, too, particularly Martin Balsam from "Clowns" (fascinating to see in a virtually opposite role 20 years later). Interesting also to see Gene Saks in a near-cameo, unrecognizable from his Chuckles character from "Clowns." Most intriguing to me is the setting; 95 percent of it takes place on the beach and boardwalk. In "Clowns," the play was "opened up" from the apartment with the addition of exhilarating (and mostly wordless) excursions around New York City. Conversely, "The Goodbye People" needs no such opening up, as the outdoor Coney Island setting has as its greatest asset the endless horizon. Accordingly, this film is about dreams and what you've got to do to make the most of life. Yes, it's talky, but so is "Clowns." In most movies, it's the writing that makes the difference, and Gardner doesn't disappoint. As a bonus, awesome evergreens make up the soundtrack. Don't hesitate to give this gem a try.
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