The Lonely Guy

“I love you. I’ll always love you, but I’ve gone away. Goodbye, my dearest. At the sound of the beep, please try to forget me.”

By 1984, Steve Martin had played an idiot, a down-on-his-luck sheet music salesman in 30s Chicago, a noir detective, and a mad scientist – quite a variety of characters, though all very specific in their characterizations. Because of that, seeing him play a pretty normal, non-affected straight guy in Arthur Hiller’s comedy The Lonely Guy almost seemed a bit of a surprise. Surely, Martin was looking for a variety of parts so he could show off what we could do, so it makes sense. The film didn’t end up being a success, but it still allowed Martin the chance to play something a bit different yet again. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Steve Martin series with Hillers’ 1984 film The Lonely Guy.

We talk about why a lot of this film doesn’t work, but why parts of it do work. We look at why comedy beats with Dr. Joyce Brothers may work (or not, depending on your take), but how her presence does seem to date the film a bit. We look at the team behind some of the technical elements, including composer Jerry Goldsmith. And we look at other cast members like Charles Grodin and Judith Ivey and chat about what works with their performances versus Martin’s.

It’s a tricky little film that feels at times like the parts are better than the sum. Regardless, it has some great comedic beats, even if the tone is a mess. We have a great time talking about it on this week’s show so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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