L.A. Story (1991) Poster


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an oddly charming story
nwilczyn17 May 2004
Outwardly, it's a ridiculous plot line. Steve Martin as the sensitive, wacky weatherman... falling in love with a British woman and somehow accidentally getting involved with the Sex in the City girl along the way. The reality of it is, though, there are so many charming details in the movie... vivid images and pictures painted in various scenes alluding to the childlike innocence of falling in love, the magic of letting yourself go and following the advice of an electric traffic sign... this movie become more enjoyable as you watch it more and shouldn't that be how a movie should be? Shouldn't it get more enjoyable instead of LESS enjoyable like most movies made today, that start with a shock and go downhill? Steve Martin shines throughout this movie and you share his gleeful moments... for example after he's tickled to find that his wife is having an affair with his agent and he converts his make-believe-shock into a dance as he approaches his then-a-symbol-of-affluence LeBaron in the street... when he tosses his hat to himself after he sets up another way to see the woman he is falling for... Simultaneously, though, you share his confusion as to how to handle the relationship with the over-energetic, giddy 23 year old he's accidentally fallen into bed with along the way. This is a complex movie that presents itself so innocently, you can't help but enjoy it. And, as a tribute to the brilliance of "The Man With Two Brains," he even manages to insert a portion of the (now legendary) "Pointy Birds" poem. In all, this is a worthwhile experience if you're willing to watch it all the way through. This is a movie for Steve Martin fans, because his unique, sensitive, accessible brand of humor and (more importantly) of life is apparent throughout.
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Nostalgic and very witty tale. A bit uneven but will serve well in the memory.
Silverzero14 February 2003
LA Story is a funny and very inventive comedy drama, even though the real love affair is with LA itself. When looking at the storyline, it does look a bit odd, (man receiving love advice from a freeway sign?) but this helps give it a more surreal and somewhat magical edge.

The acting is very good all across the board, even from a non-man-eating Sarah Jessica Parker. It has a lot of quotable dialogue, (she's not young she'll be 27 in 4 years) and some passable cameos from Rick Moranis, Patrick Stewart and Chevy Chase.

Perhaps some scenes get a bit too sentimental and make the film seem a bit uneven. But I think this helps improve the shape of its overall atmosphere, and make it heart-warming and not just a bit of gas.

LA Story is an underrated classic. It's consistently enjoyable, nicely acted and highly memorable. 7.5 out of 10.
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Still a Classic Gem Twelve Years Later
volpone1324 November 2003
Okay, I was raised in the LA area, so I appreciate "LA Story" more than many might, but it's still just an incredibly wonderful romantic comedy regardless of where you grew up. The script is fabulous, and the soundtrack featuring the music of Enya is the perfect counterpoint to this wonderfully wicked lampoon of Southern California culture.

The humor is much more intelligent than early Steve Martin features such as "The Jerk", but it isn't snobbish. It has wit, charm, and pure satirical funniness. Whether it's watching Martin roller-skate through a museum of Old Masters, seeing a restaurant full of jaded Californians casually ride out a minor earthquake as their tables gracefully vibrate across the room, or the absurdity of a freeway sign giving out cryptic personal messages that change the course of the principal character's lives, the movie simply works.

Steve Martin is at his best here, equal to his wonderful performance in "Roxanne". Victoria Tennant is the perfect choice as the off-beat, tuba-playing British journalist Martin's character falls for. Sarah Jessica Parker is absolutely priceless as SanDeE* (that's her spelling, not a typo), the young would-be spokesmodel/bimbette who "likes to point". Even Rick Moranis as the comedic Cockney grave digger is wonderful, despite his having one of the least believable accents since Dick van Dyck as the chimneysweep Bert in "Mary Poppins". Forget the comment about Moranis' accent... you'll enjoy him anyway.

Overall, this is one of my two favorite movies of all time, and considering how many I've enjoyed, that's saying volumes.
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Fascinatingly weird, but ultimately enjoyable
King_Opossum22 July 2000
LA STORY is one of those films that leaves you feeling like maybe you shouldn't have enjoyed the movie as much as you did. Looking back on the film, the plot is absolutely preposterous, the characters are entirely one-dimensional and the acting questionable. Yet I don't think there is anyone out there that wouldn't ultimately enjoy this fantasy.

Steve Martin is in top form (maybe the last decent film he did before BOWFINGER), and the wacky charm throughout makes the comedy fresh and exciting. Tremendous cameo support from the likes of Chevy Chase, Rick Moranis and Woody Harrellson add to make LA STORY a fresh comedy with lots of appeal.
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An amazing satirical snapshot!
farflungfloyd13 November 2003
LA Story is arguably one of the smartest comedies of the early nineties. It never once stops to fall into the sacharine depths that romantic comedies are plagued with, nimbly skipping over them by never leaving the skewed world that it has created. Apart from being a sharp jab at life in LA, it still has a story with heart, and manages to get you interested and involved in all the important characters. And really, nothing tops a talking electronic road sign.
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mylovelyhorsie24 October 2003
I've read that this movie was Steve Martin's homage to a city he loves. Certainly, it feels like that. The whole movie has been crafted with the utmost care and delight - a feeling that is conveyed so well to the viewer.

I've watched this film many many times and as yet have been utterly unable to find a single mistake, wrongly placed moment, person or prop anywhere. What I have found is a sense of deeply placed pleasure at watching the unfolding of an old story told beautifully and never strained by being told in the 20th Century.
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Martin at His Best
csm239 March 2003
When Steve Martin is hot, he's really hot. L.A. Story, written by Steve Martin, is hot. The entire film keeps you in a state of constant chuckling. And, the movie has more than a few moments of comedic genius. It's the cumulative effect of little jokes littered throughout the film, both verbal and visual, that keeps you in stitches. On top of that, it piques your interest.

Here's what I mean: while Martin mercilessly it pokes fun of L.A. for it's flakiness, it's love and tolerance of idiosyncrasies, it's constant preoccupation with image, it's narcissism, the humor is never vulgar, crass, or shallow. For example, one scene takes place in the municipal art museum. We see Harry Telemacher (Steve Martin), with his friends, rapt in admiration for a painting. The camera angle comes from the canvas itself, where we watch Harry, deep in thought, dissertate on the subjects in the portrait, their motives, actions, and hidden agendas. He moves forward, backward, forward again, as if in active dialogue with the lacquer. At last, moving backward, he concludes his remarks by wrinkling his nose in disgust and saying `Look at the way he's holding her: it's almost filthy!' And then the camera moves around to Telemacher's perspective. The painting's a total abstraction. There isn't a distinct line in the entire rectangular frame. In the argot of Postmodernism, one might call it a `readerly' work of art.

It's the perfect metaphor for L.A., where you may interpret anything, any way you like. There's no standard, except one's own `personal reality.' No one can use social norms as a personal club to tell someone else, `You're wrong,' because there is none. It's all `what-E-verrrr.'

Best of all, L.A. Story is a love story, the kind of love that adores someone as much for their faults as for their virtues. Martin's satire is so effective because he loves the city so much.
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One of the best ever in its own way
David24 June 2006
When I first saw this film in the theater, I remember the complete emotional reaction I had to it. I had to watch it several more times to really grasp all of the many complicated levels it contains. This film has more layers than a Vadallia Onion, and each one is as sweet and intricate as the next. This film is in many ways the best work Steve Martin has ever done. It reflects the best of his intellectually complicated and sophisticated silliness while also delivering a deeply emotional and spiritual message of self discovery and the eternal hope of love and life. At times poignant and funny concurrently, at other times silly and spiritual together, this film is an entrancing journey into a vision of a better, more hopeful, world. The music used in the film, particularly Enya's contributions, add an profound element of power and beauty to the overall effort. Indeed, the music, and the way it is employed throughout, is a complex layer of the film in and of itself. This film covers the gamut of humanity without being arrogant, and mixes Shakespeare, Saturday Night Live and Existential Philosophy in a VERY entertaining and at the same time inspiring journey. This was one of the few films I have ever seen that made me laugh, cry, smile knowingly and get chills all across my spine virtually at the same time. You will need to watch this remarkable effort more than once to appreciate all of its levels and beauty, its message and musings, its hope and glory while you are laughing and being inspired beyond what seems reasonable for a film all at the same time. This film was never appreciated as it should have been, and it is a rare gem. You will never forget this sweet journey into what could be, and maybe what should be, the real world.
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Still Delightful and Witty after so Many Years
Claudio Carvalho5 May 2013
In Los Angeles, the meteorologist Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin) is the wacky weatherman of television news. He has a wasted relationship with his obnoxious girlfriend Trudi (Marilu Henner) and he feel that he lives a boring life.

When Harris meets the Londoner journalist Sara McDowell (Victoria Tennant), who has come to LA to write en article for the London Times, in a brunch party with her ex-husband Roland Mackey (Richard E. Grant) and other friends, he believes that she is the woman of his life. Harris does not know how to seduce her and he discovers that Trudi has been cheating him with his agent for three years. Then Harry dates the younger aspirant spokesmodel SanDeE* (Sarah Jessica Parker) because he believes that Sara is interested in her ex-husband. However a freeway signpost helps Harry to woo Sara.

"L.A. Story" is a romantic comedy that is still delightful and witty after so many years from the release. The chemistry between Steve Martin and his wife is perfect and there are hilarious dialogs and situations, like for example, when Harris tells Sara that he would like to take her on a cultural tour of L.A., and Sara replies that this would be the first fifteen minutes. Or when he tells to SanDeE* that her breasts are weird and she answers that it is because they are real. Or when SanDeE* and Roland fantasize with Mel Gibson. In addition, there are cameos of many actors and famous people. The music score by Enya is awesome and fits perfectly to the conclusion. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "L.A. Story"
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A story well told
Petri Pelkonen16 August 2004
Steve Martin plays Harris K. Telemacher, a funny weatherman who's in a relationship with Trudi (Marilu Henner) but falls for a British journalist Sara McDowel (Victoria Tennant).He also meets an energetic young woman SanDeE (Sarah Jessica Parker) on the way.He gets some important messages from a freeway sign like that the weather will change his life in two ways.L.A. Story (1991) is a great romantic fantasy comedy from Mick Jackson.It's written by Steve Martin, who also gives an amazing performance in the lead.This 59 year old comedian has made us laughed in many hilarious movies in the past.Hopefully he still will do so in the future.Let's see how he can fill the shoes of Peter Sellers in the upcoming Pink Panther movie.Other actors do a great job as well.Sarah Jessica Parker can be seen there before she was a huge star.This year she stopped working in Sex and the City after six years.You can also see, more or less, people like Richard E. Grant, Iman, Rick Moranis, Chevy Chase, Kevin Pollak, Patrick Stewart and Woody Harrelson.L.A. Story is a declaration of love to Los Angeles like Woody Allen has made many to New York.This movie is full of extremely funny scenes.I found myself laughing many times watching this movie.Isn't that what makes a good comedy?
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Jon Monsarrat review: classic romantic comedy
johnnymonsarrat30 November 2002
L.A. Story is a tremendous romantic comedy just a notch below Moulon Rouge or High Fidelity, and similar to Roxanne. There are a lot of in-jokes for Californians, but I found the comedy accessible. The film is really stronger on the romance side, and has something to say about people who are somewhat phony and put up barriers to the world. As with Roxanne there is a little classic literature dropped in. There are quite a few cheesy moments where the lack of sophistication in the characters and plot does show. But there are also powerful, moving scenes, such as linking falling in love to the awe and wonder of childhood, and the airplane scene which brought tears to my eyes. And that's quite something; I almost never cry at the movies!

And of course, I loved the music by Enya! Check it out.

Who should see this film:

-- romantic comedy goers, a must see

-- action film guys like me, it's OK to see it with your SO (but see if you can get her to see Enemy at the Gate, too)

I'll give L.A. Story a surpassed-its-original-expectations 9 out of 10.
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A warm, wonderful witty tribute to LA's ways
DAVID SIM28 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
LA Story was one of the rare films Steve Martin wrote a screenplay for. Something he should do more often. His writing style is often fresh and engaging. Its unfortunate that he spends all his time nowadays churning out mediocre stuff in front of the camera, when his work on the printed page really crackles with wit. Look no further than the underrated Shopgirl. Martin's best film in ages, and all because he was acting from a script he wrote.

LA Story is quite possibly the one worthy film of Steve Martin's in the 1990s, because right after, he started the gradual decline of his career. Unchallenging, soft-headed fluff that were a waste of Martin's talents. Beginning with the trite and terrible Father of the Bride. And it only got worse from there.

But LA Story had Steve Martin at the pinnacle of his powers. It is to Los Angeles what Woody Allen's Manhattan was to New York. LA Story is a film bound to sharply divide people. If you can swallow the film's pill (and its a pretty big pill I'll admit), you'll find much to enjoy. If you can't, LA Story will most likely leave you cold. Look no further than Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel's opposite sides of the spectrum regarding this film.

Martin plays wacky weatherman Harris K. Telemacher. Harris takes the daily grindings of LA life in his stride. He's come to expect the random muggings, the snooty restaurants and the dull as dishwater art museums that are all part of the wonderful world of Los Angeles. But he couldn't possibly have expected help in his lovelife from an electronic road sign. Before long, Harris is caught between two women in his life, the free spirited SanDeE* (Sarah Jessica Parker, brilliant!) and the prim English rose, Sara (Victoria Tennant).

The success of LA Story rides upon how much you're willing to give in to the film's conceit. After all the very idea of a freeway sign being a possible oracle of the ages is bound to raise more than a few eyebrows. But I put disbelief aside, and was swept away by the film's dazzling turns and delightful wit. As I said before, Steve Martin's skills as a writer have often been undervalued, and his rich and accessible screenplay makes LA Story an astonishing, powerful ode to the city of Los Angeles.

Steve Martin's feelings about the city can often seem ambivalent. On the one hand he doesn't resist the temptation to satirise LA's shallow, superficial side (who wouldn't?!). But on the other, buried within the film's jokes and opinions, there does seem a gentle affection for the city. Perhaps even an admiration. The different people we meet all seem to ennoble a particular facet. To the point that the city of Los Angeles almost takes on a life of its own and becomes a character in of itself.

Steve Martin's trademark manic energy is relatively restrained here (barring his hilarious weather forecasts, always wrong), but his enthusiasm for the role shines just as bright as LA itself! He never misses an opportunity to make a glib quip about LA. There are really too many to mention, but none of them feel unwelcome. And he's supported himself with a fine cast.

In a brief but very memorable role, Marilu Henner plays Harris' vain, upwardly mobile girlfriend Trudie. A woman that embodies everything wrong with LA. Even when stuck in traffic, she's more concerned with outward appearance. Her relationship with Harris is hilarious, and when he learns she's been cheating on him for three years, his response is priceless ("this has been going on since the 80s!").

The scene stealer of the whole film is Sarah Jessica Parker. What a wonderful performance! Although she plays the role of a typical ditzy, LA valley girl, she brings so much energy and enthusiasm she walks away with the entire movie. Never has SJP had such fun in a film. Clearly enjoying herself immensely, she hops, skips and cartwheels her way from one end of the screen to the next. If she stood still for more then ten seconds she would probably explode! The crux of the film is the blossoming love between Harris and Sara, but I was secretly hoping he would wind up with SanDeE*!

But no. That could never be. Victoria Tennant is Steve Martin's true love (ironically three years before they divorced). I'm not convinced Tennant is all that much of an actress, but her straight-faced style of acting is appropriate when confronted with the outlandish city streets of LA. She's as baffled by its wackiness as Harris is.

And things don't get much wackier than the ending, where it seems LA itself steps in to play matchmaker between Harris and Sara. Its an ending of such cosmic proportions it will either leave you completely awed or cursing the heavens. I chose the former. The ending could seem ridiculous, but not when you take the rest of the film into account beforehand. The emotional climax is earned the way it pieces it together from lots of different elements scattered throughout the film. But that's something you couldn't possibly know until you've seen the film a few dozen times.

LA Story is a true classic. Mick Jackson's direction is so whimsical and lush, every frame bursts out with a joy and exuberance not often found in Hollywood entertainment. I felt flattened by the film's finale, helped no end by the exhilarating Exile, sung hauntingly by Enya. It all adds up to a rather delectable confection. They say Los Angeles is the City of Angels. I think of it more as a City of Dreamers. And LA Story shows how the dreams of the few can sometimes come true.
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Magical realism, southern California style
kjswanson26 August 2002
You can thank Steve Martin for writing one of the most beautiful, intelligent and hilarious films ever. L.A. Story speaks to the erudite and the daffy. Like Shakespeare's "Tempest", which the film is essentially based upon, L.A. Story finds romance in idiosyncracies and self revelation. (It's funny, you'll like it)
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Wow...Steve Martin's brilliance shines through.
GeneraX30 July 2002
This Film is not simply about the great city, but about love on many different levels: art, L.A., sunshine, life, people, literature, philosophy, and of course, relationships (aka true love). Artfully depicted are passion, searching, and the play of serendipitous events coupled will sheer willpower, on our mortal existences.

The direction of L.A. Story is incredible, but the real art of this film is in the writing. Steve Martin is a subtle genius whose profundity is such that only a few can see beyond his proverbial surface. For he who is larger than life, this film best captures at least some of his facets. I close my eyes and dream...
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Daniel Karlsson28 May 2002
Quite similar to Woody Allen's Manhattan, and not quite as good, but pretty close to it. Steve Martin stands for comedy, and this movie is filled with jokes; some very funny others pretty stupid. What I like the most with this film is the acting of Sarah Jessica Parker; she is SO great. Overall, highly watchable.

7 or 8 out of 10.
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Paean of L'Amour to both LA and his then Lady :)
Elaine Gaye (elainegaye)6 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"A kiss may not be the truth, but it is what we wish were true." I gave this movie a 10/10 after seeing it for the umpteenth time. I have lived in LA, and loved and lost in LA. I have had flings in LA, but have not as yet made it to Tail O' The Pup or Pink's. And if I ever find the shop on Melrose where Harris and Sarah become little children and the stone lions bow their heads, I would enter and never leave. *sigh* I'm a Steve Martin fan anyway, and an LA fan as well. The weird and wonderful, and love conquering all, also resound deeply within me. I'm sorry things didn't work out IRL for Steve and Victoria because of how much this film touches me. I know it's 14 years old and they were portraying characters, but every time I watch it, the way they communicate their burgeoning connection and then flee it, only for the weather to save them at the last, I am awed. It is now becoming a period piece, but that does not tarnish it in my eyes. If you would like to delight in daffiness and devotion for 95 minutes, then do yourself a favour and watch LA Story :)
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L.A. gets a salty tribute
Mr-Fusion22 August 2015
Several years back, when I first sat down to watch "L.A. Story", my in-laws remarked that I was fortunate to be seeing this while living in that particular region (the jokes would make more sense). And they were spot-on. All of the movie's funniest gags are L.A. in-jokes (they're just surreal to outsiders): the angst-ridden 4-way stop, the smog, shrugging off earthquakes, the vapid lifestyles - these help the otherwise absurd freeway shootout and socially acceptable muggings work as comedy.

The movie functions pretty well as a romantic comedy/fantasy between Steve Martin and Vitoria Tennant, but it works a lot better when Martin see free-spirited (and charming as all get out) Sarah Jessica Parker).

But it works best as Martin's snide valentine to the culture.

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How Daddy is Doing?
Andy (film-critic)14 December 2008
If one wanted to do a mural for the town you grew up in, the town you experienced life within, the tow you call "home", how would it happen? Would paint and a blank canvass be the conventional and only method? Steve Martin, comedian at large, thinks not. In 1991 he wrote and starred in a Hollywood vehicle that shows his love for that western part of America – specifically the town he resides – Los Angeles. Continuing my quest through LA (which began with "LA Confidential" and continues with "LA Takedown" and "LA Without a Map"), Martin's film was a welcomed trip into the honesty of comedy, the ability to create smart jokes for audiences, and finally, be able to pull emotion from a story which involves a riddled electronic billboard. With characters centered in depth, comedy that sparks from the absurd and transforms into chaotic, and finally that underlying sense of fantasy – Martin proves again (beginning with "Roxanne") that he is more than just a zany comic, but an endearing member of Hollywood with true talent hidden behind the "Pink Panther" façade.

Why does "LA Story" work and remain an unsung hero within the era of 90s cinema? This is one of those films that when walking through the video store, or randomly thumbing through the television stations, may just pass you by. It is a subtle box with Steve Martin merely wearing skates in what seems to be a mid-dance pose. It isn't a grabbing photo, but then again, this isn't a grabbing film. This is subtle, smooth, and relaxing – "LA Story" is a film that requires numerous viewings, not because it is a deep story, but because of the scope of what Martin is trying to say. If the phrase "How Daddy is Doing" doesn't mean anything to do, than you need to reexamine this film. Everything fits in this movie. The actors are superb, playing into the world of absurd coupled with common, the acting is direct and whimsical, and the music enhances the experience. This is the perfect film for rainy days, spring afternoons, cold winters, or just about any other moment of life. There are jokes that will make you laugh out loud and others that will make you think. This is a film about falling in love – and it works.

As I write this review, I cannot wait to watch this movie again. This is a film I watched in the mid-90s and continue to watch, recommend, buy, and dedicate to friends and family – which is a rarity in today's standards.

Grade: ***** out of *****
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A Great Feel-Good Movie
Trey Mercartne31 December 2005
This film really surprised me. Why? Because it turned out to be one of the best Romantic Comedy films I've ever seen. This is a sharp, witty and very sarcastic film that most audiences will really enjoy. "L.A. Story" also contains some brilliant performances from it's cast, and for me Sarah Jessica Parker steals the movie as the adorable SaNdEe*. Steve Martin is very good, as you expect him to be. The rest of the cast do a good, solid job without any other real stand-out performances. But that doesn't matter because everything else in the movie is right on the money.

A feel-good film, sharply written and delivered. Also it's a must see for fans of Sarah Jessica Parker as this is one of her best performances from her starlet days. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, including the hilarious earthquake scene, and on the whole the film is a real winner. A great movie that I really enjoyed.
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By and starring Steve Martin, 'L.A. Story' is a funny and whimsical movie through and through.
TxMike11 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I had seen 'L.A. Story' several years ago and I only remembered two things clearly -- the scene where everyone was ordering different kinds of coffees, decafs, half-cafs, and latte' with a twist of lemon, and the scene where Sarah Jessica Parker jumps into Steve Martin's arms. Everyone in the movie is perfectly cast, the writing, which is a thorough parody of Los Angeles life, is sharp and witty, and the whole thing comes together. Too many movies start out great, but don't know how to end. This one does not suffer from that malady. Fine, entertaining movie!

SPOILERS follow, you might want to decide to quit reading at any word now. Martin is in a lackluster relationship with a woman (Henner) when he meets a pretty British journalist in town to do a story on Los Angeles. Martin is a wacky weatherman, falls for the British lady and, while stalled on the freeway encounters a road conditions message board that begins to communicate with him, helps him start on the road to getting his life straightened out, then starts his car so he can get on his way. He meets Parker, perfect spacy valley girl, while buying a new pair of pants. He and the young girl end up in the motel room adjacent to the British lady and her ex-husband, staying at the 'Chicken of the Sea' motel. However, with the help of the lighted road sign, he figures out what to do and gets together with the British lady.
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A true modern fairy tale.
Barry Moore30 November 2002
Steve Martin has made a few gems in his life, but this might be he best movie. Its not his funniest or his most ambitious, but it is his most sincere and sweetest. Martin plays a weatherman that wants more out of life, but doesn't know how to go about getting it. Forces beyond his understanding conspire to force him to change himself. Sarah Jessica Parker steals every scene she is involved in, as a bubbly California blonde, while Marilu Henner does an outstanding job playing a superficial bitch. Victoria Tennant is very good as Martins object of desire, and Martin is supposed to have written the movie as a love ode to her. (Tennant later left Martin, so apparently the love ode was not good enough) Despite the real life sad ending to this tale, the movie itself holds up incredibly well as a look at superficiality and finding what is most important in life. This movie is a rare gem, and well worth any effort to find and watch.
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The best American satire of the 90's.
mookiethekid7 January 2000
If Mark Twain made movies, I think the results would be lot like LA Story. It is a keen satire that does not take itself too seriously. The supporting cast is great. Some of the bits seem a little dated today, but the classic references and romance are not dulled a bit by time. It inspires a steady chuckle and ultimately an ear to ear grin.
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A Rare Find.
General_G8 November 2005
Steve Martin, could be one of the greatest comedians out there, and don't get me wrong, he is, but he has had his share of bad movies such as Cheaper by the Dozen and ¡Three Amigos! and a few others. L.A. Story on the other hand is where he shows his best. This goes on Steve Martin's A list. The main thing I liked about this movie was the "talking" highway billboard. I think that was very creative and very cool. It was funny when it made the car move on its own. Romance movies are usually to sappy, but this one was much didn't have any of that and it had good actors and actresses. If you want a good romance see L.A. Story.
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You have to have lived in LA
Attila-220 January 2004
Everyone I have ever met who has lived in LA thinks this is one of the funniest movies ever made. The drive-to-work sequence is a perfect example. EVERYONE who commutes in LA has some "back road" ways of getting around freeway traffic. Martin merely exaggerates (and less so than non-LA people would think) for humorous effect. Everyone in LA is surrounded by Spanish names, but few know and no one seems to pay any attention to what they mean -- hence, the "Pollo Del Mar" resort, a background gag reminiscent of "Jack D. Ripper" in Dr. Strangelove. (Just in case, it means "Chicken of the Sea.") High colonics? If it hasn't been a fad in LA, it could be and probably will be. A comedian as the weatherman -- based on reality, no stretch there. Angelenos can drive 80 mph in bumper to bumper traffic while combing their hair or putting on their makeup but cannot navigate a four-way stop. Martin exaggerates only slightly in his scene at the four-way stop. Walk? Walk in LA? As the song says, nobody walks in LA and Martin makes this abundantly clear with perhaps the shortest drive in history.

Understandably, those who have never lived in, or more accurately been trapped in, LA cannot fully understand the movie. Undoubtedly, it probably often seems stupid if one hasn't lived in LA but, as I say, no one I have ever met who has lived in LA thinks this movie is anything less than outrageously funny.

The underlying story is clearly autobiographical and among the laughs there is a serious theme and a touching love story. The ending is just slightly surreal, the music by Enya perfect and the idea of using the freeway sign as the messenger of God is inspired.

Sara Jessica Parker steals the movie with her portrayal of SanDeE*. It's almost worth living in LA just to fully understand this great movie. Almost.
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Not as good as "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," but one of Martin's best!
MovieAddict201610 December 2003
Nobody does comedy like Steve Martin, and nobody writes comedy like Steve Martin, either. His comedy is borderline wacky, and he is the expert at physical humor, but unlike Jim Carrey he knows when to contain himself, how to make a real character, and how to make those zany qualities work just right.

His writing is dazzling and offbeat and wacky and outrageous. Part of my computer's harddrive is dedicated to old Steve Martin albums from "Saturday Night Live" and his standup routines. I give him credit for coming up with the word "Google" in his "Googlephonics" skit. But anyway.

"L.A. Story" (1991) is Martin's homage to Los Angeles. It's a slapstick comedy and a touching romance story. Sometimes we get jokes nearing ridiculous, and sometimes we get moments of pure reality. Normally this uneven blending of two very different genres would never work, but give the guy credit for making it work splendidly well.

In "L.A. Story," Martin plays Wacky Weatherman Harris K. Telemacher, the type of loony guy you sometimes wish would take the place of those boring meterologists on your local news channel that point at their boards and seem as if they're about to fall asleep. Harris has got it all, living the highlife in rich L.A. with a beautiful gal (Marilu Henner) and a great job. But then, one day, he's fired, his girlfriend dumps him for his agent (Kevin Pollack), and he's got nowhere to go in life.

That's when he meets Sara (Victoria Tennant, Martin's real-life wife), a British journalist researching L.A. for a news article. Harris takes her on a tour of L.A. "Some of these buildings are over twenty years old," he says.

Harris also sparks a relationship with a young ditz named SanDeE* (Sarah Jessica Parker), who doesn't care if she's being used as long as she's having fun. She twirls around and does cartwheels and makes Harris feel young again.

And thrown together with all this is an electronic highway sign. The sign gives Harris a riddle to unscramble throughout the film, and when the answer is finally revealed it's pure Steve Martin humor.

Steve Martin has a way of parodying anything. I laughed so hard at "L.A. Story" I cried; but then the movie takes a break from being silly and throws in lots of romance and such. But, unlike other movies, it seems to fit perfectly. It's beautiful and offbeat. It sort of reminds me of last year's "Punch-Drunk Love," only "L.A. Story" seems to have a bit more purpose and the characters are a lot more likable. It's also a lot funnier.

This is probably one of the most quotable films of all time. It's not as good as Martin's "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987), but I'll admit that Martin's writing lends better one-liners than the former (which is strangely funnier, though). I just can't get enough of Steve Martin's wonderful wit. Every time you think that "L.A. Story" is settling down to go into the typical romantic comedy cliches, such as the slow-motion shower scene with the beautiful woman splashing her wet hair over the camera, something happens. (In this case, we see Harris in HIS shower, bathing himself and glancing down at the tap. One knob says "Slow Motion," he turns it, and suddenly he's splashing over his hair and the camera in slow motion.)

The movie features cameos ranging from Rick Moranis (who has starred in four films with Martin), Patrick Stewart, Woody Harrelson and even Chevy Chase. The best is undoubtedly Moranis' British gravedigger ("Finally," Harris says, "a funny gravedigger!") I wouldn't want to ruin some of the scenes or quotes, but the beginning sequence with Harris in his car, swerving through neighbors' backyards and sidewalks and down stairs to avoid rush hour traffic, had me laughing hysterically, and so did a scene where he grabs a handgun from his glove compartment and gets in a road duel with a delivery truck.

They key to all this humor, I think, is how delightfully over the top and realistic it is. Martin finds a funny social topic -- such as restaurant booking procedures -- and stretches it out into the absurd. And you know what? It works. Because it's Steve Martin. And Steve Martin has hit gold with "L.A. Story." Fans and non-fans alike will love this movie. And I'm going to end with a quote from the film:

"Sitting there at that moment I thought of something else Shakespeare said. He said, 'Hey...life is pretty stupid; with lots of hubbub to keep you busy, but really not amounting to much.' Of course, I'm paraphrasing: 'Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'"

I love that wild wit.

4.5/5 stars.

  • John Ulmer
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