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All of Me (1984)

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 09/18/02 04:14:50

"'Back in bowl' indeed."
5 stars (Awesome)

Those born after 1984 might sometimes wonder why Steve Martin is such a big star. The white-haired goofball hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory since the early 90’s with such box office and critical bombs as Novocaine, Sgt Bilko, The Out-Of-Towners and Bowfinger in his list of credits. But those of us with more miles on the clock remember Martin at his comic best and his performance in All Of Me comes close to the pinnacle of his achievements in the field.

When a rich dying billionaire (Lily Tomlin) decides to have her soul transferred to the body of a young British girl (Victoria Tennant), her lawyer (Martin) thinks the whole thing is more than a little wacko. When her soul is accidentally transferred to him, a battle of the body takes place that couldn’t possibly be more hilarious.

Martin is at the top of his game, drifting in and out of ‘possessed by female’ mode as if it’s nothing at all and bringing huge laughs in the process. Likewise Tomlin acts her part to perfection, despite the fact she’s almost only ever seen in Martin’s mirrored reflection. Adding to the hilarity is Richard Libertini, as the swami responsible for the soul swapping. Even with only a few one-word lines, Libertini steals every scene.

If there’s a downside to All of Me it’s the casting of Martin’s soon-to-be wife, Victoria Tennant, as the young girl Tomlin’s soul is intended for. Lifeless and emotion-free, Tennant is every bit as boring in this as she was when Martin got her a job seven years later on LA Story. Perhaps she’s the bomb in Shakespeare adaptations or something, because nothing else but nepotism can explain how she managed to get a part in any feature film, let alone feature films as smart and funny as these. On the other hand, she does wander around in two scenes wearing nothing but lingerie, but that’s barely a saving grace when she sucks the life out of every other scene she’s involved in.

Tennant-itis aside, the only other ailment this film suffers from is hysteria and Martin brings that on in bucket-loads, from start to finish. A great rental, a great few hours of edit-free TV, and a great movie to own, All Of Me should deservedly go down on the list of all-time classic American comedies.

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