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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:
...
...
Polly Hines
...
...
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  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of five films written by Neil Simon, that featured his former wife Marsha Mason. The movies include The Goodbye Girl (1977), Chapter Two (1979), The Cheap Detective (1978), Only When I Laugh (1981), and Max Dugan Returns (1983). 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?
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Connections

References One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 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

 
Good Marsha, Middling Simon
10 February 2014 | by (United States) – See 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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