This comedy has some wonderful gags and a lot of other good ideas for gags, but it was directed by Arthur Hiller, who is the opposite of a perfectionist, and it makes you feel as if you were watching television.
Mostly I laughed at the idea that Steve Martin could ever understand what it means to be a lonely guy, and that Arthur Hiller, who directed this, or Neil Simon, who adapted it, or Ed Weinberger and Stan Daniels, who wrote it, could ever understand what it means to be a lonely guy. [28 Jan 1984]
The film gets in trouble, as most contemporary comedies do, when it runs out of disassociated gags and casts about desperately for a story to tell; here, the lonely guy premise is dropped completely for a series of more-or-less conventional romantic misunderstandings centered on a dull Judith Ivey.
The Lonely Guy is the kind of movie that inspires you to distract yourself by counting the commercial products visible on the screen, and speculating about whether their manufacturers paid fees to have them worked into the movie.