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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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(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:
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...
...
...
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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:

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:

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 character name of Georgia Haines (played by Marsha Mason) was changed by writer Neil Simon from his original source play "The Gingerbread Lady" where she was known as Evy Meara. On Broadway, Evy was played by Maureen Stapleton, after her successful performance on stage in Simon's "Plaza Suite". Stapleton won a Best Actress Tony Award for her part in "The Gingerbread Lady". The Evy Meara character was inspired by Judy Garland. See more »

Goofs

When Georgia (Marsha Mason)arrives home from re-hab she waits outside her apartment door holding a full bouquet of pink roses and baby's breath wrapped in green tissue paper. The grouping of the pink roses and the baby's breath changes remarkably after she enters her apartment. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

References Rocky (1976) 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
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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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