The early 1980s proved another rom-com penned by Neil Simon could become a big screen hit with The Lonely Guy.
Based on The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life by Bruce Jay Friedman, the screenplay was written by Ed Weinberger and Stan Daniels and then adapted by Neil Simon.
Directed by Arthur Hiller, The Lonely Guy stars Steve Martin, who plays Larry, a greeting card writer who finds out his girlfriend is having an affair.
He learns to embrace the life of a lonely guy and befriends Warren (Charles Grodin) another sad soul.
As Larry and Warren revel in their depressed state, Larry meets Iris (Judith Ivey) who is sympathetic to Larry’s lonely guy state but he loses her number. When Warren threatens to commit suicide instead of facing his loneliness, Larry saves him, finds and gets a date with Iris, who confesses she has dated and married many lonely guys.
Larry decides to turn all his experience into a book – A Guide for the Lonely Guy. He becomes a bestselling author, successful but loses Iris, who says he is now too successful for her. She meets his friend Jack (Steve Lawrence) and Larry tries to prevent their wedding and thinks he has failed.
Larry tries to commit suicide, but Warren prevents him, introduces Larry to his new girlfriend Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Larry literally catches Iris.
Released in January 1984, the rom-com had a modest run at the box office, despite Martin’s likeability and comedy skills. But the film has become a cult classic for Martin’s lonely guy portrayal and another book to screen with a dash of Neil Simon to make it memorable.