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:

It'll make you laugh...'til you cry. 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

Final completed feature film of actress Joan Hackett. 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

Jimmy: You're a lousy liar!
Jimmy: I am a wonderful liar! I'm only lousy when I lie to you!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

References The Brady Bunch (1969) 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)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cheap shots
7 July 2007 | by moonspinner55See 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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