L.A. STORY (1991) 

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Steve Martin
Victoria Tennant
Richard E. Grant
Marilu Henner
Sarah Jessica Parker
Kevin Pollack
Patrick Stewart

Mick Jackson



Time: 95 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy/Romance

Steve Martin, who wrote and stars in this little ode to L.A., plays a wacky weatherman (a useless job in Southern CA or so people think) named Harris K. Telemacher with a bitchy girlfriend Trudi, played to perfection by Marilu Henner, whose only real job is to be fashionable. (Her best fashion tip – turn quickly away from the mirror before you leave and take off the one item that catches your eye. Brilliant.) At a lunch with friends he meets Sarah (Tennant), a reporter from England, and falls instantly in love. He spends the rest of the film trying to get her to feel the same way. It's a trip filled with wacky characters and hysterical pitfalls.

In between love at first sight and happily ever after, he breaks up with the extremely shallow Trudi and starts dating the pretty but dim SanDeE*, played by Sarah Jessica Parker. She's an endearing bundle of pure energy that sweeps him along into a "relationship" he doesn't even want (she already has a boyfriend, but he doesn't mind). All through the film, Harris gets help from the unlikeliest of items – an illuminated freeway sign. The sign, which usually tells motorists traffic and accident information, gives Harris riddles that if solved will show him the direction his life should take. It's a cute convention on Martin's part to use the signs – from which no good news ever comes – as the bearers of soul-searching, life-changing positive messages. An in joke for the Angelenos.

L.A. Story is a little self-indulgent mainly because if you don't live or know much about Los Angeles many of the jokes will be lost to you, or at least not be as funny. I have to admit I have had many a moment straight out of this film since I've moved here, which just proves how clever the film really is. Don't worry. The rest of you aren't left in the cold. For those of you not in the know, it's still a brilliant, romantic comedy that will make you smile and thank God for love. It definitely has some silly moments, but those are contrasted wonderfully with scenes of sweet romance and caustic wit.

"Let us just say: I was deeply unhappy, but I didn't know it, because I was so happy all the time."

Martin is at his best in this film as a man who just wants to be happy and enjoy his life, but can't seem to figure out how to make it happen – something everyone can relate to at one time or another. Once he stops trying to be someone he's not, his life just seems to fall into place. He has a true and sweet connection with Victoria Tennant (his wife at the time) that really grounds the film. Though Henner and Parker give her a run for the money where hilarious moments are concerned. Both ladies are laugh out loud funny and make this film better by their presence. Martin doesn't really do anything new here, but that doesn't matter. This is romance at its purest level. If you're looking for a little gem that's funny and positive about life, L.A. STORY is a great way to spend some time.

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