- Movie Rating -

The Lonely Guy (1984)

| January 27, 1984

There were moments in The Lonely Guy when I found myself nodding with recognition.  Larry, the character played by Steve Martin, walks into a restaurant and to the horror of everyone in the place, he’s there to dine alone.  The place goes quiet, the wait staff clears off the other place settings at his table, and worse, there’s spotlight on him.  I’ve been there.  In my bachelor days when I wanted to eat alone, I always felt a sense of pity from the waitress.  She wanted to talk to me just so that I wouldn’t feel so alone.  Then the rest of the staff would try and hurry me along so that my apparent loneliness wouldn’t bring the place down.

The Lonely Guy portrays the life of a man doomed to an eternity of solitude not as a temporary problem but as a state of being.  In the world of this movie when you’re a lonely guy you it is like a yolk around your neck.  Girl ignore you; dogs avoid you, and a cloud of sadness envelopes you so that no matter what social situation you try to enter you succeed in bring a pall to the proceedings.  Your life is established by an empty apartment to which the only other occupant is a plant, always a fern.

The movie creates this ball and chain identity crisis into scenes that are very funny, maybe some of the best stuff in any Steve Martin movie.  That’s especially true when the fantasizes that he will die in front of the TV set, remote in hand, and his body place in the garbage can at the curb.  Or his failed attempt to find a suitable dog, or his failed attempt to find a suitable apartment (the best is the one next door to a prison – I mean, right next door.  I was laughing at this stuff, out loud, and that’s something that doesn’t usually happen.

Yet, unfortunately, the movie can’t keep up that zany pace.  At about the hour mark Larry becomes a success after writing a book about lonely guys for lonely guys and as his celebrity rises his love life suffers.  It gets all drippy and emotional and tries to arrive at an ending the releases him from the state of The Lonely Guy.  It’s not as compelling.  But, again, I laughed a lot at the first hour.  I’m still smilling as I’m thinking about that bridge with all of the Lonely Guys jumping into the river, to the rooftop with all the guys calling out to their former girlfriends.  That was funny stuff.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy