He eventually finds his fortune by writing a bestselling guide to the lonely guy lifestyle, which ironically makes him an instant chick magnet. After proving his mettle in a trio of comedies with Carl Reiner ('The Jerk,' 'Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid' and 'The Man With Two Brains'), Steve Martin hooked up with Arthur Hiller for this oddball film about Larry Hubbard, a greeting-card writer who finds his girl in bed with another man, breaks up with her, and proceeds to discover the depths of loneliness.
He eventually finds his fortune by writing a bestselling guide to the lonely guy lifestyle, which ironically makes him an instant chick magnet.
Before that happens, though, Martin indulges in plenty of deliciously dark comedy bits, such as a bridge that's overcrowded with attempted suicides (it's funnier than it sounds), the breaking up of a wrong wedding, and a continuous string of wry observations on our curious mating rituals.
In addition, Charles Grodin employs his beautifully pitiful deadpan as Larry's best friend Warren, and the combination of the two produces some beautifully dry dialogue.
"My girl Melanie just left me."
"What'd she leave you for?"
"She came home last night, found some guy robbing her apartment. They just hit it off."
In addition, Vegas legend Steve Lawrence does a turn as a shallow swinger, and '80s icons Loni Anderson, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Merv Griffin make cameos.
Looking back, this was Martin's first step toward playing a romantic lead, which he later developed in films like 'All of Me,' 'Roxanne,' and 'L.A. Story.' For director Hiller, 'The Lonely Guy' walked the line between his more mawkish outings like 'Love Story' and 'Making Love' and his broad comedies like 'The Out-of-Towners' and 'The In-Laws.' While it could have been a downer, this sad-sack tale is a keeper, and an undeservedly overlooked chapter in Steve Martin's filmic book.
Watch 'The Lonely Guy' on SlashControl!