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Film / All of Me

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A 1984 comedy-fantasy film directed by Carl Reiner, starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin. This was the last of 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 with the help of an eccentric Tibetan mystic (Richard Libertini). However, the procedure is screwed up, causing Edwina's soul to instead be passed into Roger Cobb (Martin), her recently-fired lawyer. Hilarity Ensues as Roger, whose feelings towards his ex-client are less than warm, attempts to transfer Edwina's soul to the right body while coping with her having complete control over the left side of his, all the while trying to convince his boss, fiancee and everyone else around him that everything is perfectly normal.

This film 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, to her horror.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After learning she was tricked by Terry, a woeful Edwina humbly asks Roger to have her soul transferred to a bird or even an eagle. That way she may fly the endless skies. ...and defecate on Terry out of petty revenge.
  • 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.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Despite coming across as an innocent and whole-hearted zealot of Edwina's plan, Terry turns out to be neither innocent nor whole-hearted. She's a cruel-hearted cynic who has been convicted twice over.
  • Black Comedy: When Roger tries having sex with Terry, Edwina is having none of that while they're sharing a body. So she starts filling his head with non-arousing thoughts. Among them are dead kittens.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: After Terry backstabs her and takes her money/mansion, Edwina suggests her soul gets transferred to a bird, so she can "fly free with the wind, hover over my house, and shit on her head."
  • 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.
  • Character Development: Roger finally decides what he really wants to do with his life, and Edwina becomes a lot nicer over the course of the movie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Edwina, while in Roger's body.
    Burton: (on having affairs with widows) I should get a dinner, not court.
    Edwina: He should get a social disease.
  • Determinator: "Cutwaters aren't quitters."
  • Different for Girls: Edwina's attempts to act masculine after Roger gets knocked out and she finds herself in control of the entire body show that she has no understanding of male behavior.
  • Everybody Has Standards: Although Edwina can be spoiled at times, her true redeeming qualities come shining through when she realizes she's helping Roger wrongfully win an infidelity case. As such, she chooses to throw the case on principle.
  • Fake Orgasm: Peggy confesses to faking her orgasms and imitates her noises when breaking up with Roger.
    Roger: Yeah, well I faked mine too!
  • Femme Fatale: Terry.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The audience's one hint that Terry wasn't who she seemed to be is when she has Prahka sent to the airport, then later acts as though she doesn't know where he went to Roger's face.
    • At despairing how Terry essentially stole her fortune, Edwina mournfully requests she wants her soul to be transferred to an eagle, setting up the possibility that the ritual can transfer human souls to non-human beings. In the end, Terry willingly allows her soul to be transferred to a horse so that Edwina can have full control of her body, if only to avoid the humiliation of going to jail a third time.
  • 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.
  • Funny Foreigner: Prahka Lasa, the Tibetan mystic who conducts the soul transference.
  • Gold Digger: Terry turns out to actually be this.
  • Grand Theft Me: Edwina's occupation of Roger's body can be seen as a lighter, comedic version of this.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Terry, when Edwina!Roger starts scolding her, eagerly wanting to be called a "cheap slut sex poodle".
  • Heel Realization: After Terry reveals her true colors, only then does Edwina realize the full extent she's made a mess of Roger's life.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Gods: When Edwina finds out she's stuck in half of Roger's body, she laments God has a sick sense of humor.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Thrice over does Edwina, spoiled diva she is, make a valid point to Roger. First, when Peggy gives Roger an ultimatum about staying with her, Edwina makes a quip remarking how she and Roger wouldn't make a good couple. Especially because Peggy was all too quick to assume he was cheating on her with another woman (even her mother). Second, although her throwing the case was reckless, she points out that not only was falling out of Peggy's favor a blessing in disguise, but winning said-case at hand would've been dishonest and hypocritical. After all, Roger was helping a cheater get away with sleeping around with multiple women who weren't even his clients. And this was all despite how Roger revered his father as an honest, upstanding role model. Lastly, Roger tries to call her a hypocrite for saying he hasn't lived when she hasn't lived her life either. To this, Edwina points that at least she has the excuse of being ill and bed-ridden all her life. This leads her to pointedly question why Roger hasn't lived his life to the fullest despite being healthy and able-bodied.
  • Jerkass Woobie: An In-Universe example, as everyone comments on how much of a demanding diva Edwina is, while Roger slowly learns her personality was the result of decades of isolation and abuse, and not being able to actively do anything about it.
  • 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.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Played with. When Edwina throws the case to do the one honest and just thing in her entire life, it doesn't end well. The twist is that it's Roger who gets the full brunt of the consequences, which includes losing his partnership and losing his girlfriend's love.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Tyrone knows something is up with Roger when Roger asks him to watch over Bix (his dog).
  • Reincarnated as the Opposite Sex: Sort of, in that Edwina's soul is transferred into the left half of Roger's body.
  • Rich Bitch: Edwina. She mellows over the course of the movie, however.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:
    Ediwna: Guess what I'm going to do? I'm going to come back from the dead.
    Roger: Aaahhh. And what makes you think you can do that?
    Edwina: Because I'm rich.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Of a sort; while it's still a comedy, it's more naturalistic (in as much as a comedy about a woman's soul entering a man's body and taking over the left side of his body can be said to be 'naturalistic', that is) 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 (albeit one who is not without some quirks) 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.
  • Symbolism: The story opens up with Peggy gifting Roger what is essentially a glorified, decorative tombstone. Apropos, as it signifies that Roger is dead inside from how he's stuck being a lawyer instead of pursuing a musical career like he wanted.
  • Third Law of Gender-Bending: When Tomlin's character has to "pilot" Martin's body solo in a courtroom scene.
  • Unwanted Assistance: An in-universe example. 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 savoring life?
    Roger: Oh, look who's talking!
    Edwina: I spent my life in a sick bed. What's your excuse?
    [Roger is lost for a reply]
    Roger: [Fuming] It's just like a dead person to say that.