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L.A. Story
DVD disk
08.08.2006 By: Jason Adams
L.A. Story order
Director:
Mick Jackson

Actors:
Steve Martin
Victoria Tennant
Sarah Jessica Parker

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In that crazy town they call Los Angeles, a TV weatherman searches for love in three different women with the help of a magical road sign.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
A magical road sign brings two people together? If I had just heard the plot of this movie, there’s a good chance I’d associate it with Steve Martin’s post-BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE cinematic output. Thankfully though, L.A. STORY was made back when the perennial fair-haired comedian was still a consistent comic force. Very few people can straddle the line between ridiculous satire and a heartfelt, well-meaning story, but Martin does it effortlessly.

L.A. STORY captures the inexplicably nutty side of the famed city well, things that still remain stereotypes some fifteen years later. Sure, it ridicules the obvious stuff (the airheaded schmoozing, random highway gunfights), but it’s the little details that cracked me up the most—the diet floss, a guy doing his makeup next to his girlfriend, the horrified faces that wallpaper the snobby French restaurant L’Idiot. And it does this all without being too zany or unbelievable. In fact, as easy a target as L.A. is, there’s still an underlying sense of admiration that shines through for the culture and its eccentricities.

The other thing that L.A. STORY does well is solidify Steve Martin as a great writer. (Track down a copy of his “The Hundred Greatest Books That I’ve Read” if you need a good laugh.) Here he balances a quasi-spoof with a sentimental romance, even injecting a healthy does of the fantastical into the works. The talking highways sign is a strange plot device, I’ll give you that; but you either buy it as part of the world Martin creates or you don’t. And in a movie that slyly mimics Shakespeare’s best works while referencing LA DOLCE VITA like it was recent pop culture, I just enjoy it as one of L.A. STORY’s many unique charms.
THE EXTRAS
Honestly, for a big anniversary edition, everything’s pretty standard fare here. However, if you’re a fan of the movie then the deleted scenes are probably worth the purchase of the disc.

The Story of L.A. STORY (12:32): Martin and director Mick Jackson show up for a hot second, but the feature is mostly just an interview with producer Daniel Melnick. He discusses how the film came about and the experience of making it in general. (Interesting fact: Jackson is from England and had only been to L.A. once before making the movie). In the end, I wish there was more Steve Martin present here. This is his movie after all.

The L.A. of L.A STORY: You can navigate through a map of L.A. and click on the different locations to see which scenes of the movie were filmed there, as well as listen to production designer Lawrence Miller talk about it. Little trivia pop ups also tell you where you can visit them for yourself. A pretty interesting extra and it makes sense, given how central the locales are to the film’s themes, despite the mockery it gets.

Deleted Scenes and Outtakes (20:19): Most of these are pretty good, but you can’t have a two and a half hour romantic comedy, can you? There are a number of cameos in the film already (Patrick Stewart!!) and a couple more pop up in the deleted scenes including physics jumper Scott Bakula and John Lithgow, who each get their own excised subplots. Lithgow’s is especially hilarious as a movie exec trying to get Steve Martin to write a comedy about rape.

EPK (5:41): Just your typical electronic press kit, which is more of an advertisement than a bonus feature.

There are also a handful of Trailers and TV Spots. Interestingly enough, the Teaser Trailer is about a minute longer than the Theatrical Trailer. Apparently somebody in Marketing sucks at life.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
“SanDeE*, your breasts feel weird.”
“Oh, that’s because they’re real.”


If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles (or California in general) I’m sure you’ll appreciate L.A. STORY for the way it pokes fun at the city, but the film still has a lot more to offer on a cinematic level, thanks to Steve Martin’s writing and performance. Here’s to hoping his future holds a little more L.A. STORY and a little less CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN.
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