The Lonely Guy (1984) starring Steve Martin, Charles Grodin, Judith Ivey, Steve Lawrence, Robyn Douglass directed by Arthur Hiller Movie Review

The Lonely Guy (1984)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Steve Martin as Larry Hubbard in The Lonely Guy

Suddenly Single

For any man who has found themselves all alone having been in a relationship "The Lonely Guy" should be right up your street as it has fun with the various issues that a newly single man faces when a relationship ends. It does a nice job of poking fun at various things the newly single man will encounter from people staring when you go to a restaurant alone through to struggling at work. The only trouble is that "The Lonely Guy" has the wrong tone, rather than poking fun at the pitfalls of being single in an upbeat manner it tries to deliver them in a dry, sardonic fashion which ends up becoming dull and a little tiresome.

Greetings card writer Larry Hubbard (Steve Martin - Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid) is happy enough, that is until he comes home and finds his girlfriend Danielle (Robyn Douglass) in bed with another man. Suddenly single and with a new life in front of him Larry discovers that he is one of many lonely men who are finding life hard having become suddenly single and decides to use his talents to write a guide for the lonely man. His guide becomes a hit with men all over America but it doesn't fill the gap he has for someone else, that someone is Iris (Judith Ivey - Mystery, Alaska) who understands him but also fears being in a relationship with him.

Charles Grodin and Steve Martin in The Lonely Guy

Now for any man who has found themselves suddenly single after a failed relationship there are certain things which arise, from feeling lonely to being stared at when you go somewhere on your own and to put it simply "The Lonely Guy" is all about these things. We watch as Larry finds himself dealing with being a new singleton, trying to find a place to live, making friends, seeking friendship in a pet and doing the walk of humiliation when he goes out for a meal as he is stared at for being on his own. And whilst all of these situations are embellished to be over the top they are real occurrences for a single guy and we get a lot more as fellow lonely guy Warren being an experienced lonely guy tells us all about how you get invited along as a friend of a couple because they feel sorry for you. It is genuinely funny because so much of it is true, this stuff happens and any single man who has walked into a cinema on their own will vouch for how people stare and whisper.

This look of life for Larry as a suddenly single is mixed with a bit of romance as whilst he struggles to find a woman, trying various techniques to pull when he does meet one in Iris things don't go well. From losing her phone number to her issues over Larry being too nice it adds to the amusement with some more fun scenes as we get lonely guy trying to date. Although at the same time this romantic side of the movie is a bit offbeat, actually it is seriously offbeat with some strange scenes including a very strange orgasm scene.

The trouble is that whilst "The Lonely Guy" is a great idea for a movie and has some really funny scenes it has one major problem and that is one of tone. Not only do we get offbeat humour which if you don't get feels very strange but everything is down beat, almost bordering on the depressing which makes it feel wrong. I am sure there are some who enjoy this down beat humour but where you expect big laughs you get down beat jokes and it starts to make it a bit dull. It is little wonder that whilst many of Steve Martin's movies are well remembered "The Lonely Guy" ends up one which seems to slip off the radar.

Talking of Steve Martin well it almost feels transitional because you have some offbeat, quirky humour but then a touch of mainstream and whilst it doesn't all work Martin certainly makes Larry a fun guy to watch. Martin is not alone and being the personification of down beat is Charles Grodin as Larry's depressed friend and expert in being a lonely guy Warren plus there is Judith Ivey as Larry's love of his life Iris and Ivey does a nice job of delivering amusing and quirky.

What this all boils down to is that "The Lonely Guy" has the potential to be a really good movie and a clever one at that as it explores the trials and tribulations of being a suddenly single man. But unfortunately because it has such a down beat tone it is not as funny as it could have been and at times borders on the dull because it is trying too hard to be downbeat.