L.A. Story is a 1991 American satirical romantic comedy film written by and starring Steve Martin and directed by Mick Jackson. The plot follows a weatherman (Martin) trying to find love in Los Angeles. It was released on February 8, 1991, and received generally positive reviews from critics.

L.A. Story
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMick Jackson
Written bySteve Martin
Produced by
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited by
Music byPeter Melnick
Distributed byTri-Star Pictures
Release date
  • February 8, 1991 (1991-02-08)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$28.9 million[1]



Harris K. Telemacher is a TV weatherman living in Los Angeles. He is in a dead-end relationship with his social-climbing girlfriend Trudi and feels his job requires him to be undignified and unintellectual, though he holds a Ph.D. in arts and humanities. He wants to find some meaning and magic in his life, having grown increasingly weary of what he sees as the rather shallow and superficial city of L.A., from overly pretentious coffee orders to bizarre shooting etiquette rules on the freeway. Furthermore, he spends his time roller-skating through art galleries with his friend Ariel, offering eccentric art reviews to acquaintances, remixing Shakespeare a lot, and otherwise seeking to escape his ordinary life.

At a luncheon with a group of friends, he meets Sara, a journalist from London, with whom he immediately becomes infatuated.

Driving home that night, his car breaks down on the freeway. He notices that a freeway traffic condition sign seems to be displaying messages intended solely for him. It offers him cryptic advice on his love life throughout the movie.

He begins to fall for Sara, but she is conflicted because she has pledged to reconcile with her ex-husband, Roland. Feeling that a relationship with Sara is unlikely, Harris begins dating SanDeE*, a ditzy aspiring spokesmodel, whom he meets at a clothing store. After his first date with her, Harris discovers that Trudi has been cheating on him for three years with his agent. The discovery leads him to pursue his romantic interest in Sara. This is complicated by his new relationship with SanDeE* and by Sara's feeling of obligation to Roland.

By the conclusion, he has successfully wooed Sara, with some encouragement and advice from the sign.



There are uncredited cameo appearances by Chevy Chase, Woody Harrelson, Paula Abdul, Martin Lawrence, Rick Moranis (this would be the fourth and final film in which Moranis appeared with Martin), and Terry Jones. John Lithgow and Scott Bakula filmed scenes—as a movie agent and Harris's neighbor, respectively—that did not appear in the final cut (although references to Lithgow's character remain in the freeway shootout and the 'California Cuisine' lunch scenes).

Martin and Tennant were real-life husband and wife at the time of the film's production.



Box office


L.A. Story was a box office success. The film earned $6.6 million during its opening weekend,[2] and ended its theatrical run with a gross of $28 million.[1]

Critical response


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 44 reviews, with an average rating of 7.50/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A romantic comedy that doubles as a love letter to the titular city, L.A. Story is Steve Martin at his silly, sweetly soulful best."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

In 2008, L.A. Story was voted by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and editors as the 20th best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years—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".[6]


  1. ^ a b c "L.A. Story (1991)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  2. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (February 12, 1991). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : 'Sleeping,' 'L.A.' Knock 'Home' Out". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 25, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  3. ^ "L.A. Story (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 4, 2023.
  4. ^ "LA Story Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  5. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "LA Story" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  6. ^ Boucher, Geoff; Lee, Chris; Olsen, Mark; Abramowitz, Rachel; Timberg, Scott; Day, Patrick; Turan, Kenneth (August 31, 2008). "The 25 best L.A. films of the last 25 years". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 25, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2008.