Illegally Yours is a 1988 American comedy film set in St. Augustine, Florida where a series of comic mishaps take place involving a blackmailer, a corpse, an incriminating audiotape, an innocent woman who accidentally picks up the tape, and a pair of teenage blackmail victims. The film was directed by Peter Bogdanovich with Rob Lowe starring as Richard Dice, the college dropout who came back home to get his act together. The film's theme song was performed by Johnny Cash.
The film was a critical and commercial failure. Bogdanovich himself considers this movie one of his worst. In an interview, he stated, "I'm not positive, but it just might be my penance for getting on the bad side of all those studio execs while shooting Mask, three years earlier."
Bogdanovich was going to direct Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastrioanni in Saturday Sunday Monday but the film was delayed so he did this instead. Filming started in January 1987 and went until April. "I only did it because I needed some money," said Bogdanovich, who had declared bankruptcy in 1985.
The film was a change of pace for Rob Lowe. Bogdanovich says he encouraged Lowe to wear glasses like the actor did in real life. Bogdanovich showed Lowe The Awful Truth and Bringing Up Baby to show what he wanted.
L.B. Straten was Louise Stratten, sister of Dorothy Stratten who had dated Bogdanovich. Louise Stratten and Bogdanovich would later be married.
"There were constant weather problems," Bogdanovich says. "We were shooting in northern Florida under two different weather fronts. There was also pressure to complete the movie in time for summer release--something that became more and more difficult to do."
Pat MacEnulty, who worked on the film, recalled "the crew practically mutinied."
The film was originally meant to come out in July 31, 1987. However during a test screening, reportedly half the audience walked out and the release date was pushed back to January 1988.
Associate producer Peggy Robertson said "We went in knowing the film wasn't ready. Peter knew what was missing and had accommodated for it, but the audience didn't.... Peter tried [to make the July release date] but it boiled down to, `Do you want it quick or do you want it good?' We just finished filming in April, so I don't think anyone was surprised when it didn't work out." A DEG spokesman said It told us a movie was there and the audience we were aiming for (women between 18 and 25) was responding. That's the reason we're taking our time now. It's not just another programmer."
The De Laurentis Group ran into financial troubles and the release date kept being changed. This affected other films from the producer too "All the films are in limbo until (the group's problems) are resolved," said Bodganovich. "It takes a lot of time because there's a lot of banks and different people involved, but I'm assured by DEG that it will come out either by them or another distributor... It's been a tough ride for Dino. He's just had a hard run of luck."
"We showed this picture to kids, and they were screaming," he said. "Critics have to say, `Bogdanovich is doing this in the tradition of screwball comedy' because that's what it is and they're stuck with saying it. But kids just see that [Rob Lowe] is falling down, and there's an excitement about that because they haven't seen it before."
Bogdanovich he had "high hopes for" the film "but it was re-cut completely by Dino De Laurentiis."
The film was a financial and critical failure. Bogdanovich later called it "awful... I don't even like to mention it."