Synopsis by Mark Deming
Playwright Neil Simon made one of his periodic forays into serious themes with the drama The Gingerbread Lady, and while this screen adaptation adds a bit more wit to the proceedings, it remains a change of pace from his usual breezy comedies. Georgia (Marsha Mason) is a successful actress who has just spent 90 days in a rehab clinic in an effort to beat her addiction to alcohol. A number of crises are waiting for Georgia upon her return; her teenage daughter Polly (Kristy McNichol), whom she neglected as a child, wants to move back in, though they still have a ways to go in repairing their relationship. And her ex-husband David (David Dukes), a writer, has just penned a new drama that he wants her to star in -- a fictionalized version of their often-combative marriage. Georgia also has to tend to her best friends, bitter socialite Toby (Joan Hackett) and Jimmy (James Coco), a gay actor who drowns his sorrows in food. Only When I Laugh garnered Oscar nominations for Mason, Coco, and Hackett, while the latter won a Golden Globe for her performance.
actor, alcoholism, daughter, estrangement, rehabilitation [detox], ex-husband, friendship, play [drama]