L. A. Story Review

The Film
I tried really hard to like L.A. Story. I’m a big fan of Steve Martin and loved Roxanne and Bowfinger, other efforts written by this year’s Oscar’s host. The main problem with the film is that it is fundamentally dated, and the jokes are no longer funny.

Martin plays Harris Telemacher, a ‘wacky’ TV weatherman and LA resident, whose life is going smoothly, or so he thinks. Then, on one underwhelming day, Harris encounters an electronic freeway which embarks him on some mahor changes of direction in his life. It advises him into an indulgent romance with a young and beautiful airhead (Sarah Jessica Parker) and, aims hopefully, to push Harris to true love with the woman of his destiny.

The film is funny at times, and there are some good one liners. I particularly like Martin’s complaining about how men can never judge if a woman is ready for a party or not. However, many of the jokes no longer work, and the dated hazy LA look that places itself between the eighties and the nineties doesn’t help the film. The acting by the English contingent of the cast (Richard E. Grant, Victoria Tennant) lets the film down, although this may be due to them being forced into dodgy English accents to ease American consumption. Essentially, the main problem is Martin’s over-indulged script. He tries to uneasily blend a satire of LA excess with a romantic comedy, not to mention a touch of postmodern mysticism thrown in. It’s almost like he saw When Harry Met Sally, Field Of Dreams and Less Than Zero and wanted to combine them all. If he’d have cut out the romanticism, I think the film might have worked, but unfortunately he hadn’t and it doesn’t. Director Mick Jackson adds enough visual sparkle to keep the film moving, but he ultimately cannot save it.

The Disc

Full marks to Momentum pictures who are fast becoming an impressive label. The Region 1 version was non-anamorphic, and us lucky Region 2 consumers have been given a fine anamorphic print, in 1.85:1 widescreen. The print looks slighted dated with regards to colour tones, but is still the nicest looking transfer of the film available.

Presented in 2.0 surround, the sound is slightly masked over, and isn’t as clear as it could be at times. Some of the sound effects and music scores are very well presented audibly, but for a film where sound is not a major factor these are all minor notes really.


Making Of The usual early nineties making of, with interviews mixed with behind the scenes shots and clips from the film. It’s watchable enough. Unfortunately, it’s made up from the rushes of the other extras that feature on the DVD.

Interviews A collection of sound bites of interviews from the cast and crew. Again, it feels like the entirety of the interview footage for the making of just thrown in for good measure. The interviews are not graced with a presenter or narration, so they are a little uneasy to watch.

Behind The Scenes A few minutes of behind the scenes shots, which speaks for itself.

Photo Gallery A good photo gallery with vivid photographs taken on set. The pictures have nice visual quality although won’t need a second visit.

Trailer & Teaser Trailer The trailers make L.A. Story feel like a Steve Martin attempt at some sort of Dennis Potter/Woody Allen mish-mash, and I suppose in hindsight it is merely just that.

If you are a hard-line L.A. Story fan, or even if you love the picture and are positive that you want to own it, then Momentum have done a good job with the materials at their disposal. To me, the film is dated, much of its charm has vanished and there are far better films out there, even from the makers themselves. That said, L.A. Story is likeable enough and will fill anyone’s ninety minutes pleasantly.

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