6.5/10
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Only When I Laugh (1981)

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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Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the play "The Gingerbread Lady")
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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:
... Georgia Hines
... Polly Hines
... Jimmy Perrino
... Toby Landau
... David Lowe
... Vincent Heller (Lou)
... Man in Bar
Ed Moore ... Dr. Bob Komack
Byron Webster ... Tom
Peter Coffield ... Mr. Tarloff
Mark Schubb ... Adam Kasabian
Ellen La Gamba ... Receptionist
... Nurse Garcia
Nancy Nagler ... Heidi Stanton
... Jason
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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  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,880,870, 27 September 1981, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$25,782,304, 6 December 1981
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the play, in which Georgia (Marsha Mason) was performing, was "Only When I Laugh". As such, this film represents an instance where the title of a play-within-a-movie, is also the title of the movie. 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

Polly: Who redid my room?
Jimmy: She hates it, I can tell.
Polly: It's a little Brady Bunch, but I can work with it.
Jimmy: The room is wonderful! Get rid of the kid!
See more »

Connections

References Manhattan (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Schwartz and lyrics by Howard Dietz
Sung by Marsha Mason and Kristy McNichol
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cheap shots
7 July 2007 | by 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 six minutes of wasted film involving two college guys trying to pick up Mason and daughter Kristy McNichol at a health food restaurant. The movie 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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