“Inside your new body will be the same old sourpuss.”
An overworked lawyer (Steve Martin) experiencing a midlife crisis is accidentally injected with the soul of a recently deceased millionaire (Lily Tomlin), whose original intent was to occupy the body of her stablehand’s sexy daughter (Victoria Tennant).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Lily Tomlin Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Steve Martin Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that Steve Martin “was denied an Oscar nomination” for his “terrific… physical comedy” work in this otherwise painfully unfunny flick about a “soul-transmigration experiment” that becomes all “fouled up” as Martin and Tomlin “vie for control of his body”. Peary points out that “Carl Reiner’s direction is slipshod and obvious”, and that “the script by Phil Alden Robinson… is so stupid” we’re asked to believe in a completely ludicrous ending. He does concede that the film “is saved at times by the originality of Martin and Richard Libertini, who plays a silly swami”:
— indeed, we can’t help liking Martin and relating to his understandable identity crisis; but Tomlin is (as scripted) a completely self-absorbed, whiny pill, and thus entirely unpleasant even when “limited to just being a head-and-shoulders reflection in mirrors”.
I’ve never been a huge fan of life-after-death flicks (see, for instance my review of Topper and its two sequels), and this one does nothing to convince me it’s a particularly fertile sub-genre.
Note: A much more successful collaboration between Martin and Reiner is Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid — a truly enjoyable must-see treat for all film fanatics.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Selma Diamond as Martin’s secretary
- A few mildly clever lines, interactions, and physical gags (by Martin)
No; definitely feel free to skip this one unless you think it’s your cup of tea — which many do (see reviews below).