In Steve Martin’s fourth collaboration with director Carl Reiner, Martin plays Roger Cobb, an idealistic lawyer who would rather be playing jazz guitar than spending time in a musty old courtroom.
But he’s engaged to the boss’s daughter, and the boss has promised him a partnership if he’ll just handle some revisions in the will of a dying, bedridden and unpleasantly crotchety millionairess spinster named Edwina Cutwater (Lily Tomlin).
Edwina has willed everything to her stablehand’s pretty daughter, Terry (Victoria Tennant), having arranged with a guru that her spirit will return to earth in the daughter’s body, thereby enabling her to have both her wealth and the fun she missed the first time around.
But her plan takes a wrong turn, and Edwina’s soul winds up sharing Roger’s body with him. Since the two had taken an instant dislike to each other, this leads to many problems. Going to the bathroom for instance. Or more hilariously when Roger is in bed with Terry and Edwina (in Cobb’s voice) starts calling her a slut and spanking her – which just gets Terry more excited.
It’s an uneven effort, but Martin provides a feast of physical comedy as he simultaneously walks and talks as half-man, half-woman.
Character actor Richard Libertini – as wacky Swami Prahka Lasa – is the next best thing to Steve Martin in the film, while Victoria Tennant seems wasted in a role that is too uptight.
Dr Betty Ahrens