The Goodbye Girl is the first US film we have featured on ‘Friday’s finest’ for a while. I’m very partial to it because it is one of my mother’s favourite films. Also the film’s theme song was my favourite from the band – Bread. As you can imagine my brother and I got an obscene dose of this movie growing up! This one and Tootsie to be exact. Unless I’m mistaken, they don’t make excellent romantic comedies like The Goodbye Girl anymore. First and foremost the writing in this movie formerly a play by the legendary playwright Neil Simon is extremely intelligent, fluid and witty. And secondly we have the great actor Richard Dreyfuss star in his prime as an out of work actor. Dreyfuss won the Academy award for best actor in this role and Neil Simon the screenplay.
IMDB Storyline: A divorced woman and her daughter come home to find that her boyfriend has left for an out of town job with no warning. This has happened before. The second surprise comes in the form of another actor who has sublet the apartment from her boyfriend (who did not mention the pair of females who would be in residence). After some negotiation the two decide to share the apartment even though she has vowed to stay away from actors.
To give you a taste of how good this script is:
Paula McFadden : This is your room. I do not clean or make beds. You may use the kitchen or the bathroom when I am not in it and wash it up when you are through. You pay for your own food, laundry, linens and phone bills. I would appreciate some quiet between six and nine as that is when Lucy does her homework and I don’t care what you drink or smoke. As long as it is not grass in front of my 10 year old daughter. Now, we have everything straight?
Elliot Garfield : No.
Paula McFadden : No?
Elliot Garfield : No. I’m not crazy about the arrangements.
Paula McFadden : You’re not.
Elliot Garfield : Definitely not. I am paying the rent, I will make-a-da rules. I like to take showers every morning and I don’t like the panties drying on the rod. I like to cook so I will use the kitchen whenever I damn well please and I am very particular about my condiments so, keep your salt and pepper to yourself. I also play the guitar in the middle of the night whenever I cannot sleep and I meditate every morning complete with chanting and burning incense so if you’ve got to walk around I’d appreciate a little tip-toeing. Also, I sleep in the nude. Au buffo. Winter and summer, rain or snow with the windows open and because I may have to go to the potty or to the fridge in the middle of the night and because I don’t want to put on jammies which I do not own in the first place… unless you’re looking for a quick thrill or your daughter an advanced education I would keep my door closed. Thems my rules and regulations, how does that grab you?
Despite its Academy awards The Goodbye Girl remains largely unknown now which is strange and why its here in Friday’s finest. I think it’s one of the greatest romantic comedies I’ve seen. It is a wonderful tale of family, of career, of relationships and of love. This is easily my favourite performance by Dreyfuss. Everything that makes him so precocious and appealing as an actor is manifested in The Goodbye Girl. The movie melts with humour from start to finish. It also has one of the most gorgeous endings I’ve seen on film.
Interesting IMDB Trivia:
* Marsha Mason recalled working with Richard Dreyfuss – “Richard was fast and funny. I was thoughtful and more serious. Richard was wild and free. I was a responsible wife and mother and an actress. I wanted so much to be like him. He was so sure of himself, so sure of his place and space, and he moves forward accordingly. He’s bright, bright, bright, incredibly well read, and comfortable with his intelligence.”
* The film’s theme song “Goodbye Girl”, sung and written by David Gates, went to No. #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1977.
* Sources point to this film as the first romantic comedy to gross 100 million dollars.