All of Me (1984)
Mind, Body, Soul and Martin
Happy 38th, that's a contradiction in terms - Roger Cobb
You know those movies where people magically switch bodies, well Steve Martin's "All of Me" is basically a variation on that idea. Instead of him switching bodies he finds that the soul of a dead woman is cohabiting in his and so we have the comedy of his character being half controlled by a man and half by a woman. Of course this means that there is plenty of repetitive comedy as a battle of wills commences whilst he tries to restore things back to normal but it works. And it works because Steve Martin has great fun playing the man whose body is basically half possessed, whilst Lily Tomlin is wonderfully witty as the female soul doing the possessing.
Millionairess Edwina Cutwater (Lily Tomlin - Tea with Mussolini) is dying and before she does she wants lawyer Roger Cobb (Steve Martin - The Jerk) to amend her will so that Terry Hoskins (Victoria Tennant), the daughter of the stable man, will inherit everything. Roger understandably is confused even more so when he discovers that there is an agreement that when Edwina dies her soul will be transferred into Terry's body by a mystic. But when the time comes something goes wrong and Roger finds himself with Edwina's soul sharing his body with his own and it causes mayhem in his life as he tries to get the mistake sorted.
To be honest for the most there are no surprises to the storyline to "All of Me" and it even feels like it's going off on a tangent as it starts with Roger fretting about his 38th birthday. I say there are no surprises as you know that once Edwina's soul takes residence in half of his body you are going to have one gag after another as they do battle over control of the body, eventually growing to like each other and then of course trying to sort the mess out. There are a couple of twists such as Terry who should have been the recipient of Edwina's soul not being the person Edwina thought she was but even these are not that much of a surprise.
But to be honest "All of Me" is really about just two things and the storyline isn't one of them. The first thing is the visual comedy of Steve Martin as we have him acting out having Edwina controlling half of his body. And so we get him walking along butch one step very feminine the other whilst his voice constantly changes from being male to female. All of which is amusing especially when we get the issue of him needing to go to the toilet or when he tries to have sex with Terry only for Edwina's soul to bring it to a crashing halt.
And the other thing is the witty conversations which go on between Roger and Edwina in his head as they fight it out and then try and work together. To put it simply it is constant comedy as they bicker and battle their way through many a scene and whilst Steve Martin again is brilliant delivering this snappy banter he finds his equal in Lily Tomlin whose dry wit makes these moments so much more. In fact with Edwina's soul appearing as Roger's reflection in mirrors Tomlin also gets her share of visual comedy and delivers some wonderful facial expressions.
The thing is that whilst all of this is good fun and constantly brings a smile to your face it does become repetitive as we get one battle after another. Thankfully it does build to a sort of mad cap finale as Edwina and Roger try to restore order in their life whilst getting their own back on the deceptive Terry. But it does feel like it is treading water at times leading up to this and you kind of wish they would have got on with things a bit quicker and cutting out some of those repetitive gags.
What this all boils down to is that "All of Me" is a fun movie which works even now 25 plus years after it was released. It's a nice variation on the body swap idea and really works because of the comedy of Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin making the repetitive humour sharp.
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