“I can’t believe this. I can’t even die right.”
All of Me is a movie that I remember watching a lot as a kid. I think one of my sisters loved it, or maybe I did. But for whatever reason, it seemed to be rented on every second trip to the video shop. While I remember that and the broadest strokes of its plot, I can’t remember why we watched it so much back then, or if it’s actually any good. It doesn’t really seem to be held up as a Steve Martin, 80s classic, but I had a feeling it would be worth a re-visit.
Roger (Steve Martin) is a successful lawyer, but not quite successful enough. As he reaches his 38th birthday, he thinks he should be a partner at his firm. And even dating the boss’s daughter hasn’t helped. He thinks he might finally be getting a leg up though, when he’s sent to administer the will of Edwina (Lily Tomlin). A billionaire shut in, Edwina has been sick her entire life and her death seems imminent. And administering her estate would be a big cash cow for Roger’s firm for years to come.
When Roger arrives at her mansion, he discovers that Edwina isn’t interested in any ordinary will. She wants to her entire estate to go to Terry (Victoria Tennant), the daughter of her stableman. But that’s not the unordinary bit. The unordinary bit comes in with Edwina’s post death plans. A swami type spiritual man reckons that at the moment of death, he can transfer Edwina’s soul into Terry’s body. Roger thinks it’s ridiculous, until a mishap at the exact wrong time sees the swami’s plan work, only Edwina doesn’t end up inside Terry, she ends up sharing a body with Roger.
Steve Martin isn’t just the star of All of Me, he’s the STAR!!!! of All of Me. Once two people are sharing his one body, he has to give two broad physical performances, he has to give two completely different vocal performances, and he as to figure out how to play pretty much every human emotion, from two different points of view. And all the while, he has to be able to bounce between these two completely different characters at the drop of a hat. Sometimes interrupting his own sentences, often arguing with himself, and sometimes being literally pulled in two different directions physically.
The 70s might have seen Martin become a super star of stand up, selling out massive venues and dominating TV as every late night talk show’s favourite guest, but it was the 80s where Martin became an international movie star. And while the credit for that goes to awesome movies like The Jerk and The Three Amigos, as amazing as they are, I think All of Me should get a little more regard for its part in his ascension as well.