GOODBYE GIRL, THE (director: Herbert Ross; screenwriter: Neil Simon; cinematographer: David M. Walsh; editor: John F. Burnett; music: Dave Grusin; cast: Richard Dreyfuss (Elliot Garfield), Marsha Mason (Paula McFadden), Quinn Cummings (Lucy McFadden), Paul Benedict (Mark Morgenweiss), Barbara Rhoades (Donna Douglas), Marilyn Sokol (Linda); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Ray Stark; Warner Home Video; 1977)
“Broadway-like funny romantic comedy sitcom about struggling Manhattan actors, that has its awkward moments.“
Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzHerbert Ross (“Play It Again, Sam”/”Funny Lady”/”The Turning Point”) directs this Broadway-like funny romantic comedy sitcom about struggling Manhattan actors, that has its awkward moments. It’s based on the playwright Neil Simon’s original screenplay. Richard Dreyfuss, at 29, was the youngest actor, at the time, to win an Oscar for Best Actor.
The 33-year-old Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) is a former chorus dancer and divorced single parent of a lovable precocious 10-year-old daughter named Lucy (Quinn Cummings), whose life goes to pieces when her wormy married actor boyfriend deserts her to take a part in Italy in a new Bertolucci pic after promising to take her and the kid to LA. That rainy night aspiring self-absorbed young actor from Chicago, Elliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss), shows up at her apartment with a legal sublet for three months’ rental of the apartment from Paula’s boyfriend roommate (who failed to tell him about the girls). After a strained start, the hard-edged Paula and the eccentric Elliot work out an uneasy agreement to share the apartment. Predictably an attraction between the two misfits grows and they eventually realize they’re in love. But Paula frets that she’s become “The Goodbye Girl” because in recent years a series of live-in boyfriends have deserted her.
The comedy is loaded with insults and wisecracks. One of the film’s many highlights is when Elliot wins the lead in the off-off Broadway play Richard III, and portrays the king as gay.
REVIEWED ON 2/27/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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