Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton star in this dramedy that explores the growing relationship between an aspiring actor and a divorcée who become unwilling tenants in the same New York City apartment. The Goodbye Girl is a remake of the 1977 Neil Simon film that starred Richard Dreyfuss (who won a Best Actor Oscar for his role) and Marsha Mason (who was nominated for Best Actress). This new TNT original production, directed by Richard Benjamin, also has Simon involved, this time as executive producer and writer.
If the romance between the two main characters is the “drama” part of this dramedy, the gay subplot is the “comedy.” Daniels’ character (pictured, left) is cast in an off-off-Broadway production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. The director is Mark Bodine, played to perfection by Alan Cumming (pictured, right). Bodine wants Elliot (Daniels) to play Richard as a flaming queen, but Elliot is appalled at the idea and wants to play him as it was intended—with a hump and a crippled arm. A compromise is reached: Elliot plays Richard as a flaming queen with a hump and a crippled arm.
To imagine yourself being wooed by Daniels might be reason enough to watch The Goodbye Girl, but to see Daniels go limp (with his wrist) is an added attraction. Cumming is the icing on the cake.
The Goodbye Girl premieres as a TNT three-play weekend, Friday–Sunday, January 16–18, at 7 p.m. (If you want to see the 1977 film before viewing its remake, TNT is airing it on Thursday, January 15 at 7 p.m.; TCM will air it the same evening at 9 p.m.) —Blase DiStefano