"He's cute. He reminds me of a dog nobody wants," says eleven-year old Lucy McFadden of Elliott Garfield, an actor from Chcago who is forced by unusual circumstances to live with Lucy and her mother Paula in their cramped New York City apartment. Can a dumped-on former chorus line dancer and her precocious kid (who doesn't like to called a kid) find happiness with a guitar-playing, early morning and meditating health food nut from the Midwest? That is the romantic question at the heart of this bittersweet love story written by Neil Simon.
The three main characters in The Goodbye Girl are always on edge. Paula's been hurt by affairs with actors far too often; not wanting to get hurt again, she is always yelling at Elliot the intruder. The actor is unhappy when his stage ambitions are frustrated by a director who insists he play Richard II as a flaming homosexual. And young Lucy is apprehensive about being deserted once again. Herbert Ross directs Marsha Mason as Paula, Richard Dreyfuss as Elliott, and Quinn Cummings as Lucy in this fitfully funny love story. This plot bogs down too often in shouting sessions but ends on a happy note. If you like Paula are a "sucker for romance" you may enjoy The Goodbye Girl. If you are rubbed the wrong way by strains and clashes in romances following a bumpy course, you may want to skip The Goodbye Girl.