Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All of Me (1984)

Seen: On our projector set-up, streamed from Miles' harddrive.

I'm still working my way through Steve Martin movies over here, you know how it is. This one enticed me for its co-star, Lily Tomlin, whom I've always enjoyed when I've seen her but I'm not actually too familiar with her larger roles. (Incidentally I did devour her wikipedia page after watching this and newsflash she is completely cool and also ALMOST has an EGOT!) All of Me is the kind of magical realism-infused romantic comedy that I've come to expect from Martin, and it's pretty dang adorable. Martin plays Roger Cobb, a lawyer who dreams of trying big cases but is stuck helping the curmudgeonly Edwina Cutwater (Tomlin), an extremely wealthy invalid, manage her will. At the time of her impending death she plans to place her spirit in the willing and able-bodied young woman Terry (Victoria Tennant), with the help of a Tibetan mystic. But the process sees a few hiccups and Edwina finds herself sharing Roger's body, much to the chagrin of both parties.

It's a loopy premise, obviously, and one that combines Martin's penchant for exaggerated physical gags with a script that's equal parts silly and witty. I loved Tomlin's snooty Edwina, and while her role is limited in that she's a ghost trapped in Steve Martin's body most of the time, she gets in some great disembodied dialogue and I liked the mirror trick that is used to show the two conversing. Martin continually cracked me up as he physically conveyed Roger's strange experience of half-possession, splitting his body in half with stereotypically masculine and feminine movements. When Edwina desperately takes over his body completely during a courtroom scene I was laughing so hard I had to catch my breath, it's just so outrageously goofy.

While there are things about it I loved- namely, whatever happens when Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin are together- All of Me suffers from some problems that keep me from wholly loving it. I think the premise is interesting, but the actual plot is too dumb/simplistic to really be compelling. All the stuff involving Victoria Tennant's character is just kind of stupid, and I feel like the same elements could have been handled differently in a better script. Also there is mad ethnocentrism in the representation of Prahka Lasa (played by Richard Libertini), whose childlike "foreignness" is played for cheap laughs. Aaaaand I wanted more of Tomlin and Martin onscreen together! It's too bad they haven't made 100 movies with each other.

3.5/5

Pair This Movie With: Well Steve Martin falling in love with a disembodied woman is of course reminiscent of The Man With Two Brains.

3 comments:

  1. This used be on TV a lot when I was a kid - and by TV I mean free TV, not cable - so I'd watch it a lot. It's good, but I like THE JERK and especially LA STORY better.

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