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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

First theatrical feature film of director Glenn Jordan. The movie was the first of two Neil Simon adaptations that Jordan has directed, the second being Jake's Women (1996). 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

Toby: [as kids beat on her car] God damn them! Why do you live in this neighborhood? Why don't you move?
Georgia: Because, it only costs me $300 a month. It's a sublet from Mary Todd Lincoln.
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Connections

References The Merv Griffin Show (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart
from Damn Yankees (1958)
Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
Performed by Kristy McNichol (uncredited) and Nancy Nagler (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Palpable Transition from Stage to Screen
23 October 2003 | by 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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