L.A. Story is a romantic comedy starring (and written by) Steve Martin. Harris K. Telemacher (Martin) is a weatherman in L.A. whose love life is assisted by a mysterious, magical talking freeway sign. The city of Los Angeles is a star as well, one of the themes of the movie being the often bizarre attributes of the city itself, from the weather to earthquakes to the "fake" citizenry. Marilu Henner, Victoria Tennant and a pre-Sex and the City Sarah Jessica Parker play the love interests of Harris. The movie is peppered with humorous cameo appearances, from Patrick Stewart's scene-stealing maître d'hôtel to Rick Moranis' gravedigger. (And yes, that isPaula Abdul as the rollerskater.)
All Just a Dream: Heavily implied that the entire story is a fantasy inside the head of Harris, who has a PhD in Arts and Humanities - which explains the Shakespeare references - and which is also why the film is one huge Empathic Environment.
Ambiguously Gay: Ariel, who at the very least has a close live in relationship with another woman. Deleted scenes made the relationship more explicitly gay.
Arc Words: "The Weather Will Change Your Life. Twice."
Bilingual Bonus. Plenty. "L'Idiot" is "The Idiot". "El Pollo del Mar" is "The Chicken of the Sea".
Brass Balls: There's a great scene where Harris (Steve Martin) is walking on the beach with arrogant bastard Roland (Richard E. Grant), and there's this metallic clanging noise. Harris asks what it was and Roland says "It's a nuisance. It's my damn testicles."
Call Back: "Let your mind go and your body will follow."
Casual Danger Dialogue: Sara is alarmed when there's a minor earthquake during dinner, but the locals just pick up their drinks to avoid spilling them and pay it no attention, not even missing a beat in their conversation.
Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Harris is saddled with his girlfriend Trudi, until she admits to having an affair, which cues an immediate break-up and opens the door to pursuing a less problematic romance.
"You think with a financial statement like this, you can have the duck? !"
It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: Inverted. Harris and his friends agree to meet at a trendy new restaurant whose name is pronounced "leed-YO", but when the scene shifts there, we see that it's actually spelled "L'Idiot", and that is the correct pronunciation in French.
Offscreen Crash: in one scene, a man in the background can be seen juggling a chainsaw, and we can hear that it's turned on. Seconds later, as the camera moves away leaving him out of shot, we hear the sound of a man screaming in pain.
Sara: I went roller skating once at the Brooklyn Rollerdome. It was awful. I was completely out of control. I slammed right into this 8-foot tall black guy in a green satin jump suit. I said, "I'm sorry, could you help me?" He looked down at me with deeply stoned eyes and said: "Little lady, let your mind go and your body will follow."note Harris invokes it, with some help from the traffic sign, which astonishes Sara since Harris from her eyes shouldn't know anything about that story.
The Red Stapler: Fans were disappointed to find out those shoe-skates don't exist.
What Could Have Been: John Lithgow was going to be in the film as super-agent Harry Zell, and some of his scenes appear in some trailers for it, but was eventually cut. He can still be seen as the man in the distance talking to the magical Road Sign before Harrison himself encounters the sign, but all of his dialogue is gone. The cut scenes are available on some DVD versions.