ALL OF ME (1984) 

Steve Martin
Lily Tomlin
Victoria Tennant
Madolyn Smith
Richard Libertini
Dana Elcar
Jason Bernard

Carl Reiner



Time: 93 mins.
Rating: PG
Genre: Slapstick Comedy

SYNOPSIS: A dying millionnaire has her soul transferred into a younger, willing woman. But something goes wrong, and she finds herself in her lawyer's body - together with the lawyer.

BOTTOM LINE: I remember when I first saw this film as a teenager, I dismissed it out of hand as just plain silly...which is exactly what I love about it as an adult. If you've never seen any of Steve Martin's early films, like THE JERK, THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS and THE LONELY GUY, you are truly missing some of the best comic work ever put on film. ALL OF ME is a little more mainstream than the others, but it's still wacky, clever and at points outright ridiculous. Martin is never afraid of looking or acting goofy and that's why I like him so much. He plays characters with heart, who you like even when you're laughing at them. ALL OF ME is no exception and he has a perfect foil in Lily Tomlin, a decent comedienne who's virtually disappeared from the film world. After watching this film, you'll actually wish she had worked more. I know it doesn't seem possible, but you'll see.

It's a fairly simple story: a musician/lawyer working for his girlfriend's father's firm becomes possessed by the soul of one of their excessively rich, bitchy clients and spends the rest of the movie trying to get her out of his body and into the proper recepticle, the young supple body of the woman's stable man's daughter. Get it? Martin plays Roger, the frustrated lawyer who really wants to be a musician, but is afraid he'll lose his girlfriend Peggy (Smith) if he chooses to pursue his dreams. So on his 38th birthday, he decides to bite the bullet and confront his future father-in-law about his prospects in the firm. He's giving up music to focus on law and he wants real clients. Mr. Schyler sends him to Edwina Cutwater's house. She's a sickly, rich woman who needs her will finalized before she dies, which should be any day now. If Roger handles this correctly, Schyler will put him on the fast track to partner.

Roger: "You're like an energy vampire! You suck the life out of people and take the fun out of being a lawyer!"

Roger is unprepared for what he finds at the Cutwater Estate. Edwina (Tomlin) has been sick all her life and has decided she wants another chance at it. So, with the help of a holy man, Praka Lhasa (Libertini), she's going to transfer her soul into the body of Terry Hoskins (Tennant), to get another chance to enjoy life. When she tries to get Roger to draw up papers leaving all her money to Terry, he refuses and calls her crazy. She tries to get him fired, but his boss thinks she's crazy as well, so he's got no problems there. Except for the fact that Edwina dies at the law office. The bowl containing her spirit is accidentally flung out the window and lands squarely on Roger's head. It doesn't take either of them very long to realize that Edwina's plan wasn't so crazy after all. Martin is brilliant in this scene moving his body around with one side fighting the other, as they both attempt to come to terms with this startling dilemma.

Though they start the film fighting each other, Roger and Edwina are forced to become a team. After a while, they even begin to like one another. The last two-thirds of the film is spent trying to get Edwina into Terry's body. A task made more difficult because Terry is ecstatic about her new found wealth and rather reluctant to give up her body to Edwina. She never thought it would actually work, agreeing to the scheme in order to collect the cash. Not a big surprise, but their shenanigans trying to catch her, do give the film some of it's most hilarious moments. In the end, after much trial and error, they finally get Edwina where she belongs and a life-long friendship is born.

Martin and Tomlin are amazing together. They are both on top of their game. This film would be unwatchable if the level of their talent was uneven. Tomlin gets the short end of the stick, her performance being more of the heard and not seen variety. However, despite the physical limitations of the role, she more than makes her presence known. When she is seen, it's as Martin's reflection, which is a great special effect that works really well. Martin has to pretend he's possessed and let me tell you, as difficult as this performance must have been, he is flawless. The story is a bit dated and trite at points, but you won't really care. The characters' antics are just too funny. If you're looking for something to tickle your funny bone, this is a film you should search out. It'll show you how Martin got to be one of the biggest comedians working in the business today.

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