6.4/10
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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 »

Director:

Glenn Jordan

Writers:

Neil Simon (screenplay), Neil Simon (based on the play "The Gingerbread Lady")
Reviews
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
Ed Moore Ed Moore ... Dr. Komack
Joan Hackett ... Toby
James Coco ... Jimmy
Kristy McNichol ... Polly
Nancy Nagler Nancy Nagler ... Heidi
Dan Monahan ... Jason
David Dukes ... David
Ellen La Gamba Ellen La Gamba ... Receptionist
Michael A. Ross Michael A. Ross ... Paul (as Michael Ross)
Venida Evans ... Nurse Garcia
Tom Ormeny Tom Ormeny ... Kyle
Peter Coffield Peter Coffield ... Mr. Tarloff
John Bennett Perry ... Actor (Lou)
Byron Webster ... Tom
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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

Gross USA:

$25,524,778

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,524,778
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The setting of the film's source play "The Gingerbread Lady" is described in the play's intro as: "A brownstone apartment in the West Seventies. The present." 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

Bartender: What's the problem?
Georgia: Do you see cigarettes? That's the problem.
Bartender: How much money did you put in?
Georgia: Twelve dollar like it says.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

 
Neil and Marsha
10 December 2017 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Broadway star Georgia Hines (Marsha Mason) has finished with her rehab. Her friends include gay struggling actor Jimmy Perrino and socialite Toby Landau. Her estranged daughter Polly (Kristy McNichol) wants to move in for a year. Her former boyfriend David Lowe has written a play about her and wants her to play the part.

The combination of Neil Simon and Marsha Mason makes this an almost instant awards bait movie. That comes with both good and bad baggage. There is something writery about Neil's writing. He's trying too hard with the humor. It doesn't feel natural sometimes. I do like the mother daughter chemistry. The boyfriend is problematic and I hoped for her to avoid him at all costs although I understand the needs of an actress. This definitely has Neil's sensibilities but it doesn't have enough cinematic flair. It's a step down from their earlier collaboration. Also watch out for young hottie Kevin Bacon. Then there is falling off the wagon. It hits on certain good notes but I'm uncertain about other notes being played.


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