review for Only When I Laugh on AllMovie

Only When I Laugh (1981)
by Michael Hastings review

Neil Simon at his most maudlin, this Marsha Mason vehicle finds her in a far different -- read: far more insufferable -- mode than her Goodbye Girl neurotic-divorcee persona. Adding "recovering-alcoholic" to her already shaky dramatic repertoire, the usually-chipper Mason stumbles her way through the part of the depressive Georgia, who treats the phrase "battle with the bottle" all too literally. (The movie even succumbs to hoary, clichéd scenes of our heroine staring down a glass of wine, and having to pause mournfully at every watering hole she passes on the street.) The supporting cast adds some value to the film: Joan Hackett and James Coco are appropriately flamboyant as Georgia's ingratiating friends, even if Simon has peppered their speech with the lamest zingers and one-liners imaginable; and the young Kristy MacNichol manages to generate a good degree of sympathy and realism as the wise-before-her-time NYC teen.