Tag Archives: Victoria Tennant

All of Me (1984)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Two people, one body.

Roger (Steve Martin) is a lawyer who finds his job unfulfilling while Edwina (Lily Tomlin) is a millionaires suffering from a terminal illness and about to die. She has employed the services of a mystic named Prahka Lasa (Richard Libertini) who has mastered the ability to transfer human souls. She wants her soul placed into the body of a young woman named Terry (Victoria Tennant). Roger is then hired to change Edwina’s will, so all of her money will go to Terry, but a mishap occurs transferring Edwina’s soul to Roger’s body instead. Roger controls the left side and Edwina controls the right. While the two can’t get along they’re required to work together to find the guru and get the mistake corrected.

The film, which is based on an unpublished novel called ‘Me Two’ by Edwin Davis, has its share of funny moments, but they mainly come during the first half. Martin’s physical comedy that he does on a busy sidewalk as he’s required to learn to walk in tandem with the other soul is a laugh-out-loud moment though it would’ve heightened the humor had more passerby’s looked at him as if he were a nut. The scene at a urinal were Martin must cooperate with Tomlin in order for him to take a pee is quite good too and the best moment in the movie.

The script though cheats the scenario by entering in too many illogical points. The concept of a soul ‘sleeping’, had me baffled. Now, I admit I haven’t kept up on the latest in soul science, but it seems to me that a soul should have no need or require sleep. Only the body that a soul is housed in needs to sleep from time to time when it runs out of energy, so through that logic Martin and Tomlin’s souls should have to go to sleep at the same time since they are both housed inside a body that is tired instead of having one remain awake while the other isn’t. The courtroom scene in which Martin sleeps while Tomlin busily moves the body around seemed quite ridiculous too as it’s hard to imagine anyone could sleep while their body talks and walks and in front of other people that speak directly to it.

The scene in the church in which Martin wakes up and doesn’t hear Tomlin’s voice, so he immediately presumes that she’s asleep, is flawed too. Nobody had given him information that souls can sleep, so why does he jump to this conclusion? Why not consider other possibilities instead like maybe her soul had left his body, or that what occurred previously had just been an hallucination or dream?

While both Martin and Tomlin give good performances the supporting cast, or at least the cardboard characters that they’re forced to play, help to bog the whole thing down. Madolyn Smith, as Martin’s jilted fiancee, is too much of a broad caricature while Tennant, who Martin later married in real-life, makes for an incredibly dull villainess.

Libertini is annoying too particularly with his inability to differentiate between a telephone and a toilet bowl. Every time the phone rings he thinks it’s coming from the toilet and never picks up the receiver. It’s an attempted parody to show that he comes from a culture that is technologically deprived, but even the dumbest most isolated person with a modicum of common sense will eventually realize that the ringing sound is coming from the little box in the living room making this lame bit, which gets repeated multiple times, quite dumb.

The biggest downfall though is that the two get too chummy too quickly. Having them remain adversarial and constantly fighting for control of the body would’ve invited far more comically dynamic scenarios than what we are actually given. The plot twists in the third act aren’t interesting either and I found myself getting less engaged the more it went on and left with a flat feeling when it was over.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: September 21, 1984

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Carl Reiner

Studio: Universal

Available: DVD, Amazon Video, YouTube

The Ragman’s Daughter (1972)

the ragmans daughter

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Reminiscing about old times.

Tony, who is a middle-aged man (Patrick O’Connell) working a boring job at a cheese factory and stuck in an equally dull marriage with two kids, reminisces about his younger years when he met a beautiful woman named Doris (Victoria Tennant) and they committed petty thievery while also riding around on his motorbike. The film then intercuts between scenes of him when he’s younger, which is played by Simon Rouse in his film debut, and his life now where he struggles to make ends meet.

This film marks the directorial debut of Harold Becker as well as the acting debut of the lovely Tennant. It also marked the last of the British ‘kitchen-sink’ dramas that focused on the hardships and struggles of the working class. The story is a strange mix of gritty reality and romantic fantasy that has a few good moments, but as a whole doesn’t really work and if there is one thing that holds it all together its Kenny Clayton’s soothing and distinctive melodic score.

Part of the problem is that not enough happens. Tony is able to break into shops with too much ease and the way he is able to crack open a safe in less than a minute would make even a professional safe cracker jealous. Their robberies needed to have a little more tension or comedy to help keep it interesting instead of sliding into a pace that meanders so leisurely that it eventually becomes boring.

Tennant’s character is another issue. She is incredibly gorgeous and looks ripe for a magazine cover as a fashion model, which made me wonder why she would so quickly fall head-over-heels for Tony who has no money or job and is average looking at best. To some degree I could understand her need to break free from her oppressive and strict parents, but a beautiful woman like that would have many other potential suitors in her life and not simply dependent on Tony as being her only outlet.

Spoiler Alert!

The final twenty-minutes improves as Tony ends up getting caught and going to jail, which helps add some genuine drama. However, when he finally gets out he learns that Doris died tragically in a motorbike accident, which seemed unnecessarily severe. A much better ending would’ve had them reuniting for just one day and although now married to other people still managing to share some sort of special bond.

End of Spoiler Alert!

The film, which had a very limited release, has some potential, but suffers from a visual approach that at times looks too much like a shampoo commercial and a premise that doesn’t have enough action elements to keep it compelling.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: November 11, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 34Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Harold Becker

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: DVD (Through Netflix)