Picks and Pans Review: All of Me

UPDATED 09/24/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/24/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

Except for 9 to 5 and Pennies from Heaven, Hollywood has never quite known what to do with Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin. Like Bill Murray, the two comedians are mainly adroit at striking attitudes; their performances usually comment on the action as much as carry it out. Consequently Tomlin and Martin often defy assimilation; it's no laughing matter trying to find a script that can accommodate the comic sensibilities of either. All of Me does it for both—because it is a comedy mainly about attitudes. Directed by Carl Reiner, All of Me is a slapstick, hipster hybrid of Heaven Can Wait and Tootsie. Martin plays a malcontent lawyer presiding over the last hours of a rich, bedridden spinster. The spinster is Tomlin, performing with great glee like a wicked witch of Beverly Hills. At the moment of her demise, Tomlin tries to use an Eastern mystic's technique to trade places with her servant's pretty daughter, Victoria (TV's Winds of War) Tennant. But the experiment goes awry, and Martin finds himself a stranger in his own body, with Tomlin controlling his right side, while he controls his left. Phil Alden Robinson's script has its contrivances, but in this case the stars' stand-back-from-it-all styles neutralize those troubles. With his herky-jerky physical comedy integrated into the script, Martin for once doesn't seem to be sabotaging his own movie. And while Tomlin gets the short end of the shtick, she is no less funny as a disembodied voice than as a disgruntled shrew. All of Me shows a fine appreciation for the little weirdnesses of life, and with comedies in short supply, it may provide the best shenanigans of the season. (PG)

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