LA Story appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. By the standards of a standard-def DVD from the 2000s, this didn’t seem like a bad presentation, but it also failed to turn into a good one.
Sharpness was erratic. Close-ups demonstrated reasonable clarity, but wider shots tended to seem soft and lackluster. I saw minor issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and light edge haloes cropped up at times.
Colors looked passable and not much better. Mainly made up of blues and ambers, the tones seemed somewhat flat and failed to take advantage of the sunny LA setting. Blacks were similarly average, and shadows seemed a bit dense.
Print flaws popped up occasionally, so throughout the movie, I noticed sporadic specks and blemishes. All of this added up to a transfer that appeared mediocre, even for SD-DVD.
As for the film’s Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, it worked fine for its vintage. Given the movie’s tale, the mix didn’t shoot for much, but it added a little zest to the proceedings, mainly due to some weather-related elements.
Music showed good stereo presence, and the various channels contributed passable engagement to the sides. Much of the flick lacked ambition, though, so don’t expect much involvement from the mix.
Audio quality also seemed fine. Speech was reasonably natural and concise, while music showed acceptable pep and clarity.
Effects brought us accurate enough material. This became a wholly mediocre track for a movie from 1991.
A few extras appear here, and The Story of LA Story runs 12 minutes, 34 seconds. It includes notes from director Mick Jackson, producer Daniel Melnick and writer/actor Steve Martin.
“Story” looks at the film’s origins and development, sets and locations, Jackson’s approach to the project, a deleted scene, cast/performances, and other reflections. This becomes a decent mix of insights and happy talk.
The LA of LA Story features production designer Lawrence Miller and takes us to various movie locations. We find 13 segments with a total running time of 15 minutes, 24 seconds of footage.
Miller tours the different LA spots and us info about them. I like the content but not the awkward interface, as it becomes a chore to work through the material.
18 Deleted Scenes & Outtakes occupy a total of 20 minutes, 20 seconds. Some offer extensions of existing sequences, but a lot of new material shows up as well.
In particular, we get a five-minute, 28-second segment in which Harris meets with big-shot producer Harry Zell (John Lithgow), and a few more call back to Zell. Another series of scenes shows Harrir’s neighbor, a boxer (Scott Bakula).
Do any of these really seem like they’d have made much of a difference in the final film? Probably not, but they do give us a much better picture of Harris’s attempts to elevate his status in showbiz.
None would’ve hurt the film. Oddly, in the “Story of LA Story featurette, Melnick claims the Zell footage didn’t make the final cut because these bits would’ve forced the film to run too long. It’s only 95 minutes – another six or seven minutes wouldn’t have padded it too much.
A 1991 EPK spans five minutes, 38 seconds and involves Martin, Melnick, and actors Marilu Henner and Victoria Tennant. We get minor basics in this promo reel.
We get two trailers and six TV Spots. Also from Lionsgate provides ads for Swimming With Sharks, A Good Woman and Moonlighting.
With LA Story, Steve Martin attempts a mix of satire and romantic comedy. None of this succeeds, as the film becomes little more than a series of cheap gags and annoying characters. The DVD offers mediocre picture and audio along with a few bonus materials. The movie disappointed me in 1991 and didn’t get better with age.