is a 1991 American romantic comedy film directed
by Mick Jackson
by Steve Martin
, who also stars in the film
Set in Los Angeles, California, it tells the story of Harris K. Telemacher (Martin), an L.A. weatherman who falls in and out of love with the aid of a talking freeway sign which arguably speaks for the city itself.
Over the years since its initial release, L. A. Story has acquired a strong underground and cult following. The movie is both a romantic comedy and a satire on life and L.A. culture and is considered by some to be Steve Martin's finest, most intricately insightfully written, and performed film.
Tagline: Something funny is happening in L.A.
Steve Martin plays Harris K. Telemacher, a news meteorologist
living in Los Angeles. He has been in a meaningless relationship with his girlfiend Trudi, played by Marilu Henner
and wants to find some meaning and magic in his life. At a luncheon with a group of friends, he meets Sara McDowell, a journalist from London
played by Victoria Tennant
(then Martin's real-life wife), with whom he immediately becomes infatuated. Driving home that night, his car breaks down on the freeway and he pulls over into the shoulder, only to realize that a freeway traffic condition sign is displaying messages intended solely for him. The sign offers Harris cryptic advice on his love life throughout the movie. While he begins to fall for Sara, she feels she has a commitment to her ex-husband, Roland, played by Richard E. Grant
, with whom she has tentatively pledged to reconcile. Afraid a relationship with Sara is impossible, Harris decides to go out with the ditzy-blonde SanDeE, a wannabe spokesmodel
, played by Sarah Jessica Parker
, whom he met at a clothing store. After the date with SanDeE, Harris learns that Trudi has been cheating on him for three years with his agent; the revelation sets him free. He decides to pursue his love interest in Sara, but this is still complicated by his relationship with SanDeE and by Sara's obligation to Roland. In the end he succeeds, with more help from the freeway sign.
was voted as the 20th best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by a group of Los Angeles Times
writers and editors 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".