Only When I Laugh (1981)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama


Only When I Laugh (1981) Poster

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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6.5/10
1,109

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  • Marsha Mason in Only When I Laugh (1981)
  • Kristy McNichol in Only When I Laugh (1981)
  • Tommy (1975)
  • Kristy McNichol, James Coco, and Marsha Mason in Only When I Laugh (1981)
  • Only When I Laugh (1981)
  • Kristy McNichol and Marsha Mason in Only When I Laugh (1981)

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23 October 2003 | ctheslayer
Palpable Transition from Stage to Screen
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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