6.5/10
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14 user 5 critic

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")
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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:
Marsha Mason ... Georgia Hines
Kristy McNichol ... Polly Hines
James Coco ... Jimmy Perrino
Joan Hackett ... Toby Landau
David Dukes ... David Lowe
John Bennett Perry ... Vincent Heller (Lou)
Guy Boyd ... Man in Bar
Ed Moore Ed Moore ... Dr. Bob Komack
Byron Webster Byron Webster ... Tom
Peter Coffield Peter Coffield ... Mr. Tarloff
Mark Schubb Mark Schubb ... Adam Kasabian
Ellen La Gamba Ellen La Gamba ... Receptionist
Venida Evans ... Nurse Garcia
Nancy Nagler Nancy Nagler ... Heidi Stanton
Dan Monahan ... 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:

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

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:

Rastar Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie marks the only time that a Neil Simon written film has had a different title to the Neil Simon play, on which it is based. The source play was called "The Gingerbread Lady". See more »

Goofs

Jimmy (James Coco) is arranging a bouquet of orange flowers to welcome Georgia (Marsha Mason) home from re-hab. He is shown adding a stem of eucalyptus to the bouquet and two branches of orange flowers that stick up much further than the other flower stems in the vase. When the delivery boy comes and Jimmy turns to get the money to pay for the groceries, the bouquet of orange flowers has no eucalyptus stem and the flowers are all the same height again. See more »

Quotes

Georgia: Ya hadda look gorgeous today, right?
See more »

Connections

References The Merv Griffin Show (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Machine Gun
Performed by Storm
Courtesy of MCA Records
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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