Only the Lonely


Only the Lonely (1991)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


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Movie Info

Writer-director Chris Columbus mines Paddy Chaveysky's Marty for this bittersweet comedy about a lonely 38-year old Chicago cop dominated by his harridan mother. Danny Muldoon (John Candy), in spite of being well known and well liked in his neighborhood, still lives at home with his mother Rose (Maureen O'Hara, returning to the screen after a twenty year absence) and spends most of his time worrying about her. One night at the local Irish bar, he meets the shy Theresa Luna (Ally Sheedy), whose father is the local funeral director, and both Danny and Theresa immediately fall in love. The only obstacle to their happiness is the jaded opinions of Danny's friends. Rose, in particular, launches into a bigoted Italian salvo that intimidates Danny, making it difficult for him to continue the relationship.


Critic Reviews for Only the Lonely

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (3)

Columbus... enhances the comedic bits with commentary on the human condition: the emergence of male-female love; the silver cord between mother and son; the plight of aging single men whose only ties are their pub companions.

Jun 12, 2018 | Full Review…

A pretty easy ride, almost entirely because of John Candy and the miraculous casting of Maureen O'Hara.

Nov 14, 2011 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

Orchestrates a peaceful stream of gags and one-liners while piecing together a puzzle of broken of Columbus's best films, and easily ranks as Candy's most dimensional performance. He's a joy to watch here.

May 24, 2011 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

As a romance, Only the Lonely undoubtedly succeeds.

Jun 12, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Surprisingly pleasant, moving comedy from Chris Columbus.

Nov 24, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

Odd but hilarious Columbus comedy.

Feb 7, 2003 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Only the Lonely


One of John Candy's best characters.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

It's a cute movie, with cute actors and a cute plot. The wife, Ally Sheedy was annoying as hell and had more mom-issues than I've ever seen. How anyone couldn't love Maureen O'Hara is beyond me.

Alexis Nomm
Alexis Nomm

Super Reviewer

Funny movie. Bout a guy who finds love and learns to let his mother take a backseat to his life.


Super Reviewer

A wonderfully light RomCom that stands as one of the best tributes to John Candy (alongside Uncle Buck). Though, this is a comedy, it still allows Candy to show his true acting skills, and many of the choicest comedy moments go to Maureen O'Hara as Candy's mother, who almost steals the film. It is a sad trait in Hollywood theory which appears to dictate that comediens can't do serious acting and so should never be given serious roles, yet many have proved this to be wrong. John Candy himself proved it in JKF, Dan Aykroyd did in Driving Miss Daisy, and Robin Williams has done it on numerous occasions.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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