L.A. Story

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This article is about the film. For the song, see L.A. Story (song).
L.A. Story
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mick Jackson
Produced by Daniel Melnick
Written by Steve Martin
Music by Peter Melnick
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Edited by
  • Richard A. Harris
  • Greg Le Duc
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • February 8, 1991 (1991-02-08)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $28.9 million[1]

L.A. Story is a 1991 American satirical romantic fantasy comedy-drama film written by and starring Steve Martin, and directed by Mick Jackson. Set in Los Angeles, California, it relates a series of episodes in the romantic life of an L.A. TV weather forecaster. It includes surreal sequences in which he is offered romantic advice flashed to him by a freeway sign. The movie blends romantic comedy with fantasy and satire elements that both satirize and celebrate L.A. culture.

The soundtrack includes three songs by Enya, "On Your Shore" and "Exile" (from Watermark) and "Epona" (from Enya).


Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin) is a TV meteorologist living in Los Angeles. He is in a dead-end relationship with his social-climbing girlfriend Trudi (Marilu Henner), and wants to find some meaning and magic in his life and also finds himself growing increasingly weary of what he sees as the rather shallow and superficial city of LA.

At a luncheon with a group of friends, he meets Sara (Victoria Tennant), a journalist from London, with whom he immediately becomes infatuated.

Driving home that night, his car breaks down on the freeway and he pulls over. He notices that a freeway traffic condition sign seems to be displaying messages intended solely for him. It offers him cryptic advice on his love life throughout the movie.

He begins to fall for Sara, but she is conflicted because she has tentatively pledged to reconcile with her ex-husband, Roland (Richard E. Grant). Feeling that a relationship with Sara is unlikely, Harris begins dating SanDeE (Sarah Jessica Parker), a ditzy wannabe spokesmodel whom he meets at a clothing store. After his first date with her, Harris discovers that Trudi has been cheating on him for three years with his agent.

The discovery leads him to pursue his romantic interest in Sara. This is complicated by his new relationship with SanDeE and by Sara's feeling of obligation to Roland.

By the conclusion, he has successfully wooed Sara – with some encouragement and advice from the sign.


There are uncredited cameo appearances by Chevy Chase, Woody Harrelson, Paula Abdul, Martin Lawrence, Rick Moranis (this would be the fourth and final film in which Moranis appeared with Martin), and Terry Jones. John Lithgow and Scott Bakula filmed scenes — respectively as a movie agent and Harris's neighbour — that didn't appear in the final cut (although references to Lithgow's character remain in the freeway shootout and the 'California Cuisine' lunch scenes).

Martin and Tennant were real-life husband and wife at the time of the film's production.


Box office[edit]

L.A. Story was a box office success. The film earned $6.6 million during its opening weekend,[2] and ended its theatrical run with a gross of $28 million.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

L.A. Story received positive reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 94% approval rating and rating average score of 7.4 out of 10 based on 33 reviews.[3] In 2008, L.A. Story was voted by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and editors as the 20th best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years — with two criteria: "The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience, and only one film per director was allowed on the list".[4]



  1. ^ a b "L.A. Story (1991)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (February 12, 1991). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : 'Sleeping,' 'L.A.' Knock 'Home' Out". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Archived from the original on August 25, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ "L.A. Story (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  4. ^ Boucher, Geoff; Lee, Chris; Olsen, Mark; Abramowitz, Rachel; Timberg, Scott; Day, Patrick; Turan, Kenneth (August 31, 2008). "The 25 best L.A. films of the last 25 years". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Archived from the original on August 25, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  5. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees" (PDF). American Film Institute. 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 

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