The Lonely Guy: Striking the balance between funny and touch
Stephanie Silberstein | Los Angeles, CA | 08/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As you might expect, Steve Martin's "Lonely Guy" is somewhat over-the-top. Martin plays Larry Hubbard, an aspiring writer whose "perfect" New York City life quickly unravels when he comes home to find his girlfriend in bed with another man. This is Hubbard's introduction to the world of Lonely Guys, men who have nobody and nothing to live for.
On the surface, this premise sounds like one that should degenerate into glurge--that is, sappy sentiment with no real meaning or purpose. While some aspects of "The Lonely Guy" threaten to do just that, there is more than enough here that is clever, original, and poignant. Martin plays the familiar "nice guy", adding just enough quirks to make Larry Hubbard original and enough emotion to make the viewer care about him.
The supporting cast is, for the most part, just as strong. Martin's best friend, Warren (Charles Grodin), is a depressed character that reminds one of how Woody Allen might be if he were more of a normal human being. Again, just the right balance is struck between idiosyncraticity and realism. Memorable scenes here include a chess game between Warren and a computerized crane hand and a sequence on the Manhattan Bridge involving several desolate Lonely Guys as well as the movie's heroes.
The second half of the movie is slightly weaker than the first, only because it seems to involve the same note played over and over. After Larry finally meets the girl of his dreams, Iris (Judith Ivey), she alternately courts him and pushes him away out of fear of losing him. This plotline continually repeats instead of going anywhere, and Larry's continued involvement with his girl seems dependent on far too many coincidental meetings. However, there are still a fair number of funny moments in this part of the film. Most memorable is a scene in an upscale restaurant, in which Larry attempts to dine alone, much to the chagrin of the waiter and other guests.
The film's ending is weaker than it could have been, although happy, because of this less-than-strong relationship arc. However, Larry's dedication to Iris is touching and beliveable, carrying the film forward to its somewhat predictable conclusion.
A must-see for anyone who has been lonely and who would rather laugh than stay depressed.
He's just a wild and lonely guy
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While The Lonely Guy is first and foremost a comedy, one that descends into comic incredulity on a number of occasions, it really hits a few solid line drives in terms of the lonely guy angle. Steve Martin may be the star of this film, but Charles Grodin steals every scene he's in. He's the true lonely guy in this movie. Larry Hubbard, Martin's character, is really just a guy with really bad luck with women. After coming home to find his current girlfriend in bed with another man, Hubbard finds himself out on the street, struggling to get his bearings. That's where Warren Evans (Grodin) comes in. Warren really knows the ropes when it comes to loneliness, so he is more than qualified to instruct Hubbard in the art of living and being alone. Not all that much later, Larry meets up with Iris (Judith Ivey), a woman who tickles his fancy despite the fact she's been married more times than Larry has fingers on one hand, isn't all that attractive, is obviously lying through her teeth when she says she's thirty, and turns out to be something of a romantic psycho. Larry, of course, loses her phone number, beginning a whole series of misadventures serving to keep the two apart. Once he does meet up with Iris again, the world's most dysfunctional relationship begins. Iris, to grossly oversimplify things, doesn't want to be with a man she loves because she's afraid of being hurt again. All sorts of zany adventures ensue.
But what of Warren? Here's the guy I can identify with. While regular people are out having fun, Warren's playing chess with a sarcastic computer. He has life-size cut-outs of famous people all over the apartment so that it looks like someone is actually there when he throws a little party. He's a shell of a man who is never far from joining throngs of other lonely guys throwing themselves off the bridge downtown. Charles Grodin is just wonderful in this role. I must admit, though, that the two best scenes feature Martin. In one, we see him so desperate to find Iris again that he ends up going to the rooftop and shouting her name - only to be joined by lonely guys on all the nearby rooftops shouting the names of their own lost beloveds. In the other, we watch as Larry suffers the indignities of dining out alone. As he enters the restaurant, heads turn to stare as all conversation stops, and then a spotlight comes on following Larry all the way to his table. That's exactly what dining alone feels like.
The film ended up being a little sillier than I would have liked, particularly in terms of the relationship between Larry and Iris, and putting Steve Lawrence in your film is never a good thing (although we should all be thankful Edie wasn't with him), but The Lonely Guy is certainly a funny movie that should resonate with everyone who has ever been lonely (and I think that's just about every one of us)."
Steve Martin's Dark Humor
Octavius | United States | 08/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A satirical film on social alienation and how those who are socially challenged compensate for their deficiencies. This film is probably Steve Martin's darkest comedy not too unlike the later released dark humor film 'The Cable Guy' starring Jim Carey and Mathew Broderick.
In this film, Steve Martin plays a down-and-out professional who can't seem to even start a conversation with a girl much less have a date with one. Instead, he passes his time having imaginary parties while striking up conversations with cardboard cut-out images of people. His monotonous life is accompanied with the equally pathetic life of Charles Grodin's character.
Again, this is probably the darkest humor Steve Martin ever presented on film but it's still a great comedy. If you didn't like the theme or subject of 'The Cable Guy', then you probably won't enjoy this film either."
Brilliant in spots, but quite uneven.
Craig Matteson | Ann Arbor, MI | 05/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There were parts of this movie that were brilliant, others that were pretty good, and some that faltered a bit. Still, it addresses an aspect of life that is too often ignored in popular entertainment because it can be, well, awkward. The recent hit "The 40 year old Virgin" is a cousin of this movie, but not the same thing.
Steve Martin plays Larry Hubbard who is certainly no alpha male. He is a good enough guy and goes after the women society tells him he should pursue. This leads to him being walked over and pushed around by, in this movie, Danielle, but the name matters less than the type. As he leaves with all his belongings (he can carry them all plus the two bags of trash she asks him to take with him as she beds Raul), he ends up in a park. Warren Evans (played brilliantly by Charles Grodin) shows up with his meager belongings and asks Larry how long he has been a Lonely Guy. Larry is unaware of this term and slowly learns the pain and suffering the life of this class of persons endures unseen by most of society.
There are flashes of brilliance in this movie. My favorite is when Larry goes to a busy and upscale restaurant and asks for a table for one. The whole restaurant becomes instantly quiet and all attention is focused on him. As the captain leads him to his table a spotlight that could be used in an air raid shines on Larry all the way to his table. There are many other wonderful moments like this and I am sure you will have your own favorites.
The love story with Iris (delightfully done by Judith Ivey) is very good until they actually get together. Then things become quite awkward and artificial. In fact, the moment we learn she has had six husbands already, well, we leave wit and dive into shtick.
However, it is the relationship and insights shared between Warren and Larry that are really the heart of the movie and make it worth seeing. Grodin's Warren is the embodiment of the poor souls doomed to this existence and is an absolutely memorable character.
Good movie, but its unevenness keeps it from being great."