1984 comedy movie starring Steve Martin
and Lily Tomlin, directed by Carl Reiner. The last of the four movies Martin and Reiner made together (the others were, in order, The Jerk
, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
and The Man With Two Brains
The plot concerns dying millionairess Edwina Cutwater (Tomlin) who, having never had a real life, makes a deal with her stablemaid Terry (Victoria Tennant) to help the younger woman Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence
, allowing Edwina to take over her body. However, the procedure is screwed up, causing Edwina's spirit to instead be passed into Roger Cobb (Martin), her recently-fired lawyer.
This show provides examples of:
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Terry claims to want to do this. Actually, she's just a cynical Gold Digger exploiting what she thinks is Edwina's insanity to inherit her millions. Turns out that Edwina wasn't so loopy, though.
- Be Yourself: Roger actually hates being a lawyer, and would be much happier devoting himself to jazz music, but feels that he has to focus on his law career as a more stable option. The events of the movie not to mention the fact that he gets fired convince him to focus on his music career instead.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Roger brings his dog to work. Played with; this is probably because deep down he actually doesn't want to be a lawyer.
- Freudian Excuse: Edwina's bitchiness can be explained by the fact that she's spent her life in a sick bed, combined with the fact that she's consequently been ignored, lonely and friendless her whole life as a result. To the extent that even a clown hired to entertain her for her birthday couldn't be bothered.
- Gold Digger: Terry
- Grand Theft Me: Edwina's occupation of Roger's body can be seen as a lighter, comedic version of this.
- Ill Girl: Edwina has been sick her whole life.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Peggy demonstrates a fake one to Roger after breaking up with him.
- Innocent Bystander: Roger wasn't even in the room when the soul transfer was taking place, but found himself involved owing to the misfortune of happening to be under the window that the soul jar transmitting Edwina's soul was falling out of.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Or the self who happens to be co-occupying your body at that particular point in time, as the case may be.
- Rich Bitch: Edwina. She mellows over the course of the movie, however.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Of a sort; while it's still a comedy, it's more down-to-earth, naturalistic and plot-based than the earlier Steve Martin-Carl Reiner collaborations, which were more zany, surreal and madcap. In particular, Martin's character is quite different from his characters in the earlier ones, being a fairly smart, down-to-earth and everyday guy who just happens to get stuck in an unusual situation rather than the over-the-top clownish buffoons typically played in the earlier movies.
- Slapstick: Although not so much slapstick violence occurs, a lot of humour is generated from Martin's physical performance of a man occupied by two souls, one belonging to a man and the other a woman who have control over the right and left sides of his body respectively, and the less than pleasant results this has for him.
- Soul Jar: A bowl that can hold a soul, but only until someone touches it. It also stops working if it gets slightly dented.
- Stop Helping Me!: At one point, Roger provides a lengthy summation of the various attempts Edwina has made while co-occupying his body to help him, along with the various catastrophic consequences this has had for him, summed up with the trope name. Edwina, however, points out that while her actions might not have had the intended consequences, she's actually ended up helping him do what he really wants with his life:
Roger: Since you started helping me, in the last twenty-four hours, I've lost my girl, my job, I've alienated my dog! I broke my sunglasses! You can't even get that kind anymore. Stop helping me!!
Edwina: You know, you are so ungrateful. If it wasn't for me, you would get that partnership, and then you'd have to take cases like that, and kiss your father's high ideals goodbye. You'd also be married to Peggy; you call that savouring life?
Roger: Oh, look who's talking!
[Roger is lost for a reply]
Roger: [Fuming] It's just like a dead person to say that.
- Third Law of Gender Bending: When Tomlin's character has to "pilot" Martin's body solo in a courtroom scene.