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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 »

Director:

Glenn Jordan

Writers:

Neil Simon (screenplay), Neil Simon (based on the play "The Gingerbread Lady")
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marsha Mason ... Georgia
Ed Moore Ed Moore ... Dr. Komack
Joan Hackett ... Toby
James Coco ... Jimmy
Kristy McNichol ... Polly
Nancy Nagler Nancy Nagler ... Heidi
Dan Monahan ... Jason
David Dukes ... David
Ellen La Gamba Ellen La Gamba ... Receptionist
Michael A. Ross Michael A. Ross ... Paul (as Michael Ross)
Venida Evans ... Nurse Garcia
Tom Ormeny Tom Ormeny ... Kyle
Peter Coffield Peter Coffield ... Mr. Tarloff
John Bennett Perry ... Actor (Lou)
Byron Webster ... Tom
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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

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Only When I Laugh See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$25,524,778

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,524,778
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marsha Mason had played her character Georgia Hines several times in Neil Simon's mind according to Simon before Mason had ever read the script. 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: Ya hadda look gorgeous today, right?
See more »

Alternate Versions

NBC edited 24 minutes from this film for its 1984 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Features Gilda (1946) 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

 
Good Marsha, Middling Simon
10 February 2014 | by jjnxn-1See all my reviews

Lesser Neil Simon dramedy with a fine performance from Marsha Mason. The problem is that her character is so selfish it's difficult to sympathize with her and since she's the focus of the piece that's vital. The result is that you feel detached from the proceedings. Purportedly Marsha's character Georgia was based on Judy Garland but as written she has none of Judy's enchantress qualities that made her often maddening behavior tolerable to her intimates for so many years. Georgia is thorny without the magnetism or charm that would compensate for her petty, difficult and sometimes cruel behavior.

Joan Hackett gives her customarily excellent performance for which she was Oscar nominated but the part isn't award worthy. Still since this was her final feature film role before her death it nice that she was so honored for her many years of quality work. James Coco was similarly acknowledged and his part is more fleshed out but he has likewise had better roles. Kristy McNichol, at the height of her fame when this was made, surely took the project on feeling it would be a good showcase for her but except for one confrontation scene her character doesn't make much impact and it seems the script doesn't know what it wants her to be.

Not a bad film but for being a Neil Simon project the script is missing an incisiveness that is the hallmark of his better work.


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