Directed by Fred Schepisi
Starring Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Shelley Duvall, Rick Rossovich
Review by Jordan
In every romantic comedy, there seems to be a dull point where the humor subsides and a conflict between the love interests irritatingly takes center stage, with the woman usually having to search her heart after feeling deceived, confused or used. In Roxanne, a modern re-telling of Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac brought to life with an undiluted sweetness and endeavor by the talented Steve Martin, this expectation is flipped on its head when one of the film’s funniest scenes settles in where frustration ought to be, as Martin’s C. D. Bales stands on the porch that Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) threw him out on, ordering her to “get in!” as he is ordered to “get out!”
Roxanne is a film filled to each corner with funny, sweet moments such as this, and like a precursor to The Simpsons it creates a small town boasting an enviable amount of slightly offbeat supporting characters that are instantly endearing (Michael J. Pollard’s erratic and apparently incompetent fireman especially). C. D. Bales is the town’s smartest, bravest and most sincere citizen, who unfortunately masks an understandable sadness at having the biggest nose you’ll ever see, preventing him from attaching himself emotionally to any woman, that is until Roxanne comes to town…
An astronomer studying a newly discovered comet, Roxanne is every bit the intellectual equal of fire chief C. D. and this coupled with her breath-taking beauty and artistic flair has him falling head over heels. Unfortunately though, there is the little problem of the giant nose, as well as handsome new fire-fighter Chris (Rick Rossovich) to whom Roxanne is instantly attracted.
The combination of Chris’ looks and C.D’s articulation seems exactly what she is after, and until she realizes that she is attracted to a beautiful mind and not physique (her recent long-term relationship ended because of a lack of a mental connection), through some careful planning that’s exactly what she gets.
Being the screenwriter, executive producer and star, embedding his performance with a carefree spirit generated by a clear love for his craft, it’s clear from the outset that this wonderful film was a passion project for Martin and it couldn’t exist without him. Each one of us has a feature, whether physical or of our personality, that we are unhappy with and believe others couldn’t see past; C.D. has a big one, yet he remains the sort of fit, talented and well-liked individual that all men would want to be… so it turns out his particular feature is no barrier at all, and when he finally realizes this his world becomes a far brighter place than it already is.
Occasionally verging on sappiness, Roxanne nevertheless proves that a romantic comedy need not steer into seriousness, and provides a central relationship we can all cheer for. Without a wasted scene, and boasting an enviable amount of laugh-out-loud moments, here is a film that is unabashedly well-meaning and remains all the better for it.
4.5 themed insults out of 5
For a look at my 5 Best Steve Martin Characters click here