By Jay Betsill
“L.A. Story” is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit the romantic comedy starring Steve Martin that satirizes life in Los Angeles.
Martin stars as TV weatherman Harris K. Telemacher, who specializes in his signature ‘wacky’ weather presentations and likes to tape his weather reports in advance since its almost always “sunny and 72.”
Meanwhile, he is in a dead-end relationship with his superficial girlfriend Trudi (Marliu Henner) who he discovers has been cheating on his for three years with his agent Frank Swan (Kevin Pollak).
Where a lot of movies would take a serious turn, “L.A. Story” is actually a fantasy where our hero takes his cues from an electronic street sign on the side of the road near his home. He ends up falling for Sara (Victoria Tennant) a journalist from London that he meets at a group lunch and since she is attempting to reconcile with her ex-husband, Harris begins dating SanDeE* (Sarah Jessica Parker), an aspiring spokesmodel who he meets at a clothing store.
In the midst of Harris’ romance escapades, you get to discover how bizarre Los Angeles is on a day-to-day basis with nods to traffic and a popular restaurant where getting a reservation may involve diving into your bank statement and the entree appears to be an appetizer.
Martin is great as the guy with one of the greatest jobs in the world and Parker absolutely shines as an energetic Valley Girl with a good heart.
In true L.A. fashion, cameos from Patrick Stewart, Woody Harrleson, Chevy Chase, Iman, Rick Moranis, Paula Abdul, George Plimpton and many others. Several scenes in the various trailers were cut from the actual release including John Lithgow played the part of a movie agent that Harris contacts after being fired and Scott Bakula’s role as Harris’ boxer neighbor was filmed, but was also omitted from the final product.
Director Mick Jackson, who would go on to helm “The Bodyguard” starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston the following year, captures Los Angeles in a fun light, but it seems like “L.A. Story” plays out as a handful punchlines rather than a tight script.
“L.A. Story” had the potential to have been really good and I had not seen it in a REALLY long time, but am always willing to give any movie with Steve Martin a viewing. Although there are some funny parts, in the end, like many people who travel to the City of Angels to chase their dreams, it just doesn’t quite come together.
“L.A. Story” is currently available for purchase on Amazon Prime.
LA STORY (Rated PG-13)
Scale of 1-10 – 6