Chapter Two (1979): Poor Screen Transfer of Neil Simon, Starring James Caan and Marsha Mason

Columbia (Ray Stark production)

“Chapter Two” is Robert Moore’s poor transfer to the big screen of Neil Simon’s stage play, based on his personal experience.

James Caan gives a decent performance as the playwright’s alter-ego, a writer who has hard time recovering from the death of his wife. However, when he meets a divorcee (Marsha Mason), he falls for her—almost despite himself.
Marsha Mason, who was married to Neil Simon, did not want to do the play on Broadway, because it was too personal, but she agreed when it was done as a movie—or sort of a movie. 
The dialogue, the staging, the performances are all overly literal and theatrical, and Mason did not really deserve an Oscar nod.
Oscar Nominations: 1
Best Actress: Marsha Mason
Oscar Awards: None
 
Oscar Context
The winner of the Best Actress Oscar was Sally Field for “Norma Rae,” in a contest that also included Jill Clayburgh in “Starting Over,” Jane Fonda in “The China Syndrome,” and Bette Midler in “The Rose.”
Of Marsha Mason’s four nominations, only the first (“Cinderella Liberty”) and possibly the fourth (“Only When I Laugh”) were justified—barley so. Mason received her second (“The Goodbye Girl”) and third (“Chapter Two”) nominations for lukewarm performances, because by that time she had established her self as an Oscar?caliber performer. Her new, elevated status meant that greater attention was paid to each of her new movies–at least in the short run.