Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Alternate Best Actor 1984: Steve Martin in All of Me

Steve Martin did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Roger Cobb in All of Me.

All of Me is an enjoyable comedy about a lawyer Roger Cobb who finds suddenly that he is sharing his body with the soul of a deceased heiress and former client Edwina Cutwater (Lily Tomlin).

I decided to review Steve Martin in his role here not only because Martin is an actor who has been consistently ignored by the Academy but as well because Martin actually won both the NSFC and the NYFCC for Best Actor. This means that he was given the award over F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus, which he means he must obviously have given a better performance than Abraham, well obviously not, but it is interesting that both critics groups awarded Martin for his almost entirely comedic performance with only really rather slight dramatic moments that are still comedic to a degree.

Steve Martin at the beginning of the film is very much a straight man at the beginning of his film. He is the lawyer Roger Cobb who acts a facilitator for Edwina's will to a young woman Terry Hoskins (Victoria Tennant) which she is making believing that after he impending death she will transfer her soul into Terry's body. Martin gives a very enjoyable performance here early on pretty much giving what would be any normal person's reaction to hearing the plans of these people. Technically speaking setting up the parts of the plot could have moved slowly, but it moves quiet quickly though through Martin's hilarious reactions to the absurdity of the situation.

Martin though gets into less of a straight man part when accidentally Edwina's soul goes into Cobb's body rather than the intended and must share his body with her. Cobb controlling one side Edwina controlling the other side. Martin antics with this body problem does make up most of the film, and most of his performance so it is a good thing that Martin makes the most of the idea. An important reason perhaps that Martin's portrayal of this works so well is that he does still play it straight technically speaking. Yes he is being controlled at times by a woman, but Martin still does always portray Cobb's reactions very much those of a down to earth person in this ridiculous situation.

Martin effectively portrays Cobb's bizarre situation both physically and really psychologically. His strange walk of the combination of the feminine side and the masculine side is both believably, as believably as it can be anyway, played as well as extremely amusing as well. All of the mannerisms he does to portray the tendencies half of his body develops from Edwina's control are all very funny becuase of Martin's portrayal. He has a wonderful combination here though of the more flamboyant moments in portraying her control, as well as straighter moments of Roger's frustrations of being in the situation. Always whatever aspect of Roger's predicament Martin turns into comedic gold here.

I suppose though what might of helped Martin secure those to prodigious critic awards though is the fact that Martin does manage to make the more dramatic aspects of his character come to life as well. These are mostly small moments mainly in portraying Roger standing up for his beliefs as well as slowly coming to like Edwina after awhile and wanting to help. Martin manages to portray this aspect naturally with the constant laughs that go along with the rest of his performance. He does actually make genuinely warm relationship develop with Tomlin's character which is pretty amazing considering most of the time he talks to her he is talking to himself.

This is a very good comedic performance by Martin as he never once fails to bring life to this odd role. Frankly this could have been a performance that could have easily been way too over the top, and frankly just obnoxious. Martin though is consistently strong in the role never going to far with character driven approach with his performance. He not only succeeds in bringing laughs from scene to scene through his portrayal, but as well is able to be as about a realities as one could be in this role while the film still being a comedy.


RatedRStar said...

its kinda strange but cool that your favorite lead performance (F Murray in Amadeus) and my favorite (Hurt in Kiss Of The Spider Woman) ended up against each other for the bafta for best actor, I imagine that was one close vote lol. Ive never seen All Of Me unfortunately =(.

Anonymous said...

Interesting review. I've always liked Martin. Do you think you could review him and John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles?

JamDenTel said...

Agree with the above that Martin and/or Candy should be reviewed for PTaA...but I also wonder if you could review Martin for his Globe-nominated performance in the (I think) tragically under-appreciated PENNIES FROM HEAVEN?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous: Well at least one of the two will probably be in for that year.

JamDenTel: It is difficult to guarantee him a spot in that year as that year is packed with potentials.

Nues20 said...

Great review must give this one a watch!