La Story

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L.A. Story: Rhetorical Analysis

Alec Waugh, a British novelist once said, “you can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person”. A place can have so much character to not only make a person fall in love at first sight, but to keep that person entranced by love for the place. The city one might picture is Paris the city of love or the islands of Hawaii. However, this city is not the typical city that comes to mind. It is the city with busy streets and beautiful people, Los Angeles. The beaches of Los Angeles can be breathtaking, but it is the personality of Los Angeles that keeps a person around. A story based on a life of a Los Angeles native portrays the city as a land of opportunity. L.A. Story is a romantic comedy set in the city of Los Angeles which “tells the story of Harris K. Telemacher, an L.A. weatherman who falls in and out of love with the aid of a talking freeway sign”(wiki). The city is portrayed to be as a character itself with the ideas of the two people that created the story. Mick Jackson, the director, started out as a British television and movie director, while his partner Steve Martin, the screenwriter, is an American comedian and writer. With their differing perspective of the city, they are able to create a world for their Los Angeles resident audience and their foreign audience to fall in love with. Jackson and Martin use situational humor to portray exaggerated stereotypes of the film to convince those interested in Los Angeles of the possibilities the city has to offer. The ridiculous portrayal of the city is exemplified by the driving of Harris Telemacher in the early scenes of the movie. The stereotype of the people of Los Angeles having terrible driving skills is played through Harris. As he leaves for his day to work he skips all of the traffic by going through all of his neighbors’ yards. The part that makes one smile in these unreal scenes is the neighbor’s waving to him as he drives through their yards and checking the time to see if he is on time, and he even fixes his hair ignoring the road in front of him while he cuts across the entire block. This exaggeration of Los Angeles drivers not only give the audience a chuckle, but it presents the idea of how Los Angeles as a city sends a message of how opportunities in the city and endless. The idea is implanted in one’s head of how such an impossible way of driving is actually possible for Harris. This situational humor is an exaggerated stereotype of the reckless drivers in Los Angeles, and the exaggeration in this scene captures the audience’s attention and convinces them about the outrageous possibilities one may have in the city of Los Angeles. This scene is so farfetched that only by living in the city of Los Angeles a person would have the thought to drive recklessly along the pavement and through alleys. The situational humor is there for the audience to see the likelihood of something like this to happen for them to be encouraged about how the city is opportunistic. Jackson and Martin use these embellished conventions of the city and incorporate it into a “fanciful romantic comedy whose wildest and craziest notion is that Los Angeles, for all of its eccentricities, is a great place to live” (Camby). The portrayal of Harris driving carelessly is important to persuade the audience of how impossibility can turn into possibilities in the city of Los Angeles. A horrific natural disaster is actually common in the L.A. area, but with the masterminds of Jackson and Martin, a moment usually known for destruction, they make into a funny incident. At the first encounter Harris has with his love interest Sara, an earthquake disrupts their time at lunch. However in the movie, for those that were accustomed to the life in Los Angeles were not affected by the earthquake at all. Sara looks around in confusion as everyone remains the same while their food and drinks fall over the table in the massive earthquake. This obvious...
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