Nothing in Common

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For other uses of "Nothing in Common", see Nothing in Common (disambiguation).
Nothing In Common
Nothing in common movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Garry Marshall
Produced by Nick Abdo
Alexandra Rose
Roger M. Rothstein
Written by Rick Podell
Michael Preminger
Music by Patrick Leonard
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Edited by Glenn Farr
Delphi Films
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • July 30, 1986 (1986-07-30) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million
Box office $32,324,557

Nothing in Common is a 1986 comedy-drama film, directed by Garry Marshall. It stars Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason in what would prove to be Gleason's final film role - he was suffering from colon cancer, liver cancer, and thrombosed hemorrhoids during production.

The film, released in 1986, was not a great financial success, but it became more popular as Hanks's fame grew. It is considered by some to be a pivotal role in Hanks's career because it marked his transition from less developed comedic roles to leads in more serious stories, while many critics also praised Gleason's performance.

The original music score was composed by Patrick Leonard. The title song performed by Thompson Twins peaked at number 54 on the US Pop Charts. The film was marketed with the tagline "On his way up the corporate ladder, David Basner confronts his greatest challenge: his father."

Plot summary[edit]

Happy-go-lucky advertising executive David Basner (Tom Hanks), who recently got a promotion at his Chicago ad agency, returns to work from a vacation. He is utterly carefree until his parents split up after 36 years of marriage. Out of the blue, he must care for his aging, bitter father, Max (Jackie Gleason), as well as be there for his emotionally fragile mother, Lorraine (Eva Marie Saint). To add insult to injury, Max has just been fired from his 35-year career in the garment industry. At work, David is developing a commercial for Colonial Airlines, owned by the rich and bullish Andrew Woolridge (Barry Corbin). A successful ad campaign would likely promote David to partner in his company. David develops a relationship with Woolridge's daughter, no-nonsense Cheryl Ann Wayne (Sela Ward). His father is well aware of David's playboy nature. Asking at one point if his son is in bed with a woman, Max adds: "Anybody you know?"

The parents begin to rely more and more on David, calling him on the phone constantly. His mother needs help moving to a new apartment. His father needs to be driven to an eye doctor. Late one night, Lorraine needs to be rescued in a bar after going out on a date with another man, having become frightened when he tried to kiss her goodnight. While in the bar, David's mother then confides to him that Max cheated on her and humiliated her. An enraged David goes to confront Max. Their argument ends with David saying: "Tomorrow I'm shooting a commercial about a family who loves each other, who cares about each other. I'm fakin' it." The next day, David is distracted by the deteriorating relationship with his dad and it affects his work. As a peace offering, David offers to take Max to a nightclub to hear some of the jazz music Max likes. It is there that David accidentally discovers a secret Max has been hiding: diabetes. His foot is gangrened.

Max must go to the hospital. While awaiting surgery, he and Lorraine share their thoughts about their life together, with Lorraine condemning him for doing what he did to himself and to her. Max sobs over his mistakes once he is alone. At the agency, Andrew Woolridge insists that David go to New York with him to promote his new ad campaign. David refuses, saying he wants to be there for his sick father as his surgery is scheduled at the same time. Woolridge complains that it's unnecessary. David tells him off and is fired. The next day, David accompanies his dad to the operating room. His boss Charlie, after relating a similar story to David about his difficult relationship with his own father, assures David that he will personally smooth things over with Woolridge, so David should take some time off. Max loses two toes. When he goes home from the hospital, David pushes his wheelchair. Max admits to his son: "You were the last person I thought would ever come through for me." Later, David gets his job back (although being fired earlier) and shows Max what he does for a living and Max is impressed at seeing what David does at work.

Main cast[edit]

Television series[edit]

The movie inspired a short-lived NBC sitcom in 1987 that followed the highly-rated Cheers but its audience drop-off led to its cancellation. The series starred Todd Waring in the Hanks role of David Basner and Bill Macy in Gleason's role of Max Basner.

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 56% out of 18 professional critics gave the film a positive review, with an average score of 5.8/10.[1]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]