All of Me (1984)
January 5, 2023 7:45 AM - Subscribe

Roger Cobb (Steve Martin) seems to be doing ok, but on his 38th birthday he decides it's time to get serious. After telling his boss, he wants to be partner, he's sent to amend the will dying heiress Edwina Cutwater (Lily Tomlin). But things go awry when Cobb is informed that Edwina intends for her soul to migrate at the time of her death to the body of young and healthy Terry Hoskins (Victoria Tennant).

After going to the law offices to complain about Cobb's refusal to draw up the will, Edwina's soul accidentally ends up in the body of Cobb. Suddenly they have to work together in order for Edwina to get the body and life she deserves.

In addition to Martin, Tomlin, and Tennant, the film features Madolyn Smith Osborne faking an orgasm long before Harry Met Sally, Selma Diamond (Night Court and Emmy nominated writer for Caesar's House) and Richard Libertini (The In Laws and Fletch) as Prahka Lasa the man who is responsible for the soul transference as well as multiple well known character actors like Dana Elcar and Michael Ensign.

The film was directed by Carl Reiner.

The When Harry Met Sally orgasm scene was filmed five years later, by Carl's son Rob Reiner.

Martin met his future ex wife Victoria Tennant while filming this movie. He would later say, "My mature film career started with All of Me (1984) and ends with L.A. Story (1991)."Both films star Tennant. Strangely, they did not make any movies in the intervening years together. They divorced a few years after L.A. Story.

This was the fourth and final film that Steve Martin made with Carl Reiner. The other movies were "The Jerk (1979)," "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)" and "The Man with Two Brains (1983)."

In Steve Martin and Carl Reiner's film The Man with Two Brains, made a year before All of Me, the story ends with the main character finally united with his female lead, who has been disembodied throughout the movie in the body of the attractive villain. In that film, the villain was Kathleen Turner.
posted by miss-lapin (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I say "Put. Edwina. Backinbowl" way, way too often.

Stellar cast, great comedy director. An absolute classic.

Having Libertini play a Southeast Asian character is a mistake, and one of way too many examples of Brown Face, to be sure. But in '84, sadly, it was not at all unusual or even remarkable.
posted by Frayed Knot at 8:11 AM on January 5, 2023 [6 favorites]

"My mature film career started with All of Me (1984) and ends with L.A. Story (1991)."

Martin is selling Bowfinger (my personal favorite movie of his) short; it's incredibly sharp and witty. But this movie is also good; the way that Edwina goes "tap, tap" at the end of the bathroom scene is just [chef's kiss]. This may be my favorite thing that Lily Tomlin has done, come to think of it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:10 AM on January 5, 2023 [2 favorites]

The physical comedy in this is AMAZING.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:56 AM on January 5, 2023 [4 favorites]

Oh man, how did I forget this movie? I remember seeing it back in the 80s when I was a kid and thinking it was hilarious -- don't remember any details though!

For those wondering, it is streaming for free on Hoopla, Kanopy & FreeVee

Thanks for reminding me of this!
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:35 AM on January 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

This may be my favorite thing that Lily Tomlin has done, come to think of it.

The physical comedy in this is AMAZING.

During all the scenes after the transference -- which is to say, the film's second and third acts -- Tomlin's performance mostly voice-over (unless there is a mirror around). Steve Martin turns in a physical performance that makes the audience believe that Tomlin's character is, hilariously, in control of half his body -- and he sells it.

Then, in a climactic scene in which [SPOILER] Martin's character falls asleep just before a big trial begins, Tomlin's character is in control of his entire body (but without access to his sleeping mind's legal knowledge). So Martin's performance goes from an imitation of Lily Tomlin to an imitation of Lily Tomlin imitating Steve Martin. Absolute gold.
posted by Gelatin at 10:35 AM on January 5, 2023 [5 favorites]

here to second the physical comedy - there's a scene where tomlin and martin are both in martin's body, wrestling for control...just incredible.
posted by j_curiouser at 1:24 PM on January 5, 2023 [2 favorites]

The title song has been stuck in my head ever since this movie came out.
posted by adamrice at 2:22 PM on January 5, 2023 [2 favorites]

Great movie, I need to rewatch it.

Martin won several high profile critics awards for best actor of the year, which led to a lot of commentary--the "smart" people couldn't believe his performance was worthy compared to Oscar bait like Waterston in The Killing Fields or Abraham in Amadeus.

I've always considered this, The Man with Two Brains, and Roxanne a the matic trilogy about exploring the separation between loving a person and the physical component. I thought TMWTB was the weakest in film terms but was also the only one that didn't undercut the message by giving Martin's character a traditionally gorgeous woman to have happy ending with.
posted by mark k at 9:02 PM on January 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

How dare you say "penis" to a dead person!
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:35 PM on January 6, 2023 [3 favorites]

I saw this movie at a very impressionable age and therefore "Backinbowl" has been a catch phrase of mine for far too long. And I will never find any song as romantic as the title song. Ever.
posted by teleri025 at 8:59 AM on January 9, 2023 [2 favorites]

I gave this a rewatch over the weekend, and was reminded of my one pet peeve -- that Edwina in Terry Hoskins' body still has Terry's accent. Thankfully Reiner et al were smart enough to know to end the movie with showing us Tomlin & Martin dancing together rather than ending on Martin & Tennant.
posted by oh yeah! at 3:39 PM on January 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

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