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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 27.59%
Average: 3.45%
Pretty Bad: 10.34%
Total Crap: 6.9%

1 review, 23 user ratings

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L.A. Story
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by Ryan Arthur

"Well, thank you for a lovely lunch and enema."
5 stars

It's lighthearted, and fantasy, but it's really better than you might think.

Say what you will about Steve Martin's comedic sensibilities (this is the guy, after all, who made the arrow-through-the-head gag funny), but he's got a way with words when he writes. His dialogue is smart and funny, and it can be quite touching.

L.A. Story is basically a fantasy in which our hero, Harris K. Telemacher (Martin) receives personal advice from one of those flashing message boards along the freeway in Los Angeles. If you can accept that, then everything that follows in the film will make sense. Sort of. If you can't, then maybe this movie isn't for you.

But let's assume you can. Harris is a weatherman who specializes in goofy forecasts. It's L.A., so everything is somewhat artificial or gimmicky. Harris even goes so far as to record a week's worth of forecasts in advance just so he won't have to go in to work. He's part of a circle of the so-called "beautiful people," the only kind that seem to populate L.A. He's got a girlfriend (Marilu Henner) whom he finds out is having an affair, but he's strangely attracted both to the younger SanDeE* (Sarah Jessica Parker), perhaps just searching for his youth; and Sara (Victoria Tennant), a Brit journalist in town to do a story. When he gets fired, he has plenty of time to pursue them both.

It's the interaction between Harris and Sara that's interesting, since she's just as eccentric and quirky (she plays the tuba over the telephone with her mother, he rollerskates through museums while a friend tapes it). Martin (who wrote the script) has literally hundreds of setups and payoffs (some comedic, some dramatic), whether it involves a robber introducing himself at the cash machine ("Hi. My name is Bob. I'll be your robber."), Harris' attempts to get into an ultra-exclusive restaurant (after a credit check, Harris is told he "can have the chicken.") or the interaction between Harris and the freeway sign.

It's a sweet, light film, but that in no way takes away from it. Martin's performance is perfect, and every role is built around supporting his, from Parker's (spot-on as the Valley Girl) to Richard E. Grant (as the stuffy Brit trying to woo Sara). Solid performances all around, with a quirky, funny script. It works, and you rpoably wouldn't think that'd be the case where a character gets his inspiration from a freeway sign.

I'll have a half double decaffeinated half-caf, with a twist of lemon.

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originally posted: 11/14/98 01:56:45
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User Comments

3/25/18 Anne I lasted 20 minutes 1 stars
7/29/10 R.W. Welch Imaginative and energetic. Maybe a bit too quirky. B- 4 stars
7/26/06 Sepi53 i didnīt get either 2 stars
2/19/06 Perry Steve Martin rocks in this. Well worth the $5.50 for the DVD. 5 stars
5/31/05 John Aster Habig Not Roxanne or The Jerk but somewhere in the middle better than mediocre 4 stars
4/19/05 sbpat21 Funny, touching, fantastic 5 stars
8/07/04 Monster W. Kung Sorry, I don't get it 2 stars
2/08/04 john bale Fun great sight gags, Parker stands out, top cast. 4 stars
12/07/03 john yeah that's LA - and I love it! 5 stars
7/09/03 natasha_theobald magical, intelligent, and witty 4 stars
1/11/03 Adam it's all about the interesting word usements he structures 5 stars
11/23/02 Charles Tatum Some us who don't live in L.A. think this was not funny 2 stars
5/11/02 Phil M. Aficiando Loopy and light; not memorable, with some subtle humor behind the schtick. 4 stars
3/31/02 Carolyn Steve is Brilliant, Resplendent, a comic genius 5 stars
2/05/01 Matt Wiener Satirical genius, with observations of the city of angels 5 stars
2/23/00 KEvIn "Ordinarily I don't like to be around interesting people..." 5 stars
11/13/99 emmmitt one of my favorite satires. 5 stars
7/20/99 Matthew Bartley V.funny 4 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink one of Martin's worst movies. 1 stars
11/16/98 Lord Of The Dunce More laughs than you expect. Martin at his best. A great Saturday night renter. 5 stars
11/13/98 Jules Overall a really great film, but so "timely" that's it's already frightfully 'early 90's' 4 stars
11/10/98 Silent Rob Woody Allen for west-coasters. A charming and subdued Steve Martin. 4 stars
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  08-Feb-1991 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Jun-2006


  02-Jul-1991 (PG)

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