Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1979. Rastar Films. Screenplay by Neil Simon, based on his play. Cinematography by David M. Walsh. Produced by Ray Stark. Music by Marvin Hamlisch. Production Design by Gene Callahan. Costume Design by Vicki Sanchez. Film Editing by Michael A. Stevenson. Academy Awards 1979. Golden Globe Awards 1979.
Wonderful film based on a Neil Simon play is one of his warmest and most enjoyable works. James Caan plays a writer (based on Simon) whose loss of his beloved wife has put him in a creative slump that also extends to his personal life. Returning from a trip where he revisited the places he and his wife vacationed, Caan’s anxious brother (Joseph Bologna) encourages him to start dating again and gives him the phone number of a fresh-faced, fully effervescent woman (Marsha Mason, who is the second Mrs. Simon in real life) in the hopes that they will get together. The two of them hit it off without a snag until Caan’s melancholy feelings about his first wife get in the way of what should be a perfect relationship. Terrific dialogue and sparkling performances (mustn’t forget Valerie Harper‘s wonderful turn as Mason’s best friend) make for a more than satisfying romantic drama with plenty of surprises.