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Only The Lonely (1991)

Reviewed on 2011 May 18

Dramatic comedy about a Windy City cop who falls for a shy woman, only to horrify his overbearing mother.

Danny Muldoon (John Candy) is a policeman with a big heart and a dull life that revolves around a pushy mother from hell. Rose (Maureen O’Hara) is a widow with two sons, one of whom, Patrick (Kevin Dunn), escaped into the ’burbs and married. She leans on Danny for pretty much everything, and Danny worries about his mother: even though she could probably beat the snot out of a marine with her handbag, she’s still his mum. One fateful night, Danny meets Theresa Luna (Ally Sheedy), the very shy daughter of a mortician. They soon fall for each other and Danny’s friends and family all have reservations about it for their own selfish reasons, but the worst is Rose. Rose is so afraid of losing her oldest son that she does her best to sabotage things, largely under the guise of “tellin’ it like it is”.

Other viewers have noted that this is an updated version of Marty, set in Chicago and with an Irish bull of a mother instead of a passive-aggressive Italian mother fretting that her son’s new girlfriend is “one step from the streets”. I didn’t pick up on that while watching this; the first time I saw it I was just enjoying the story, and watching it again years later as a married woman I was noticing the family dynamics — but I can see that. This was a change of pace for Candy, who has more depth in this than his other stuff and does a good job with it. Sheedy was great as the shy Theresa, and O’Hara was funny and frightening as the prospective monster-in-law. There’s a scene where Danny and Rose are at Patrick’s house, and you can see Patrick’s wife, listening to Rose as she’s preparing dinner and wearing an expression on her face like she wished she had the nerve to whomp the old woman with one of the cooking utensils.

Two chocolate morsels and an Irish coffee.


morsel morsel

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