Roxanne

"Excellent"

Roxanne Review


At the beginning of Roxanne, C.D. Bales (Steve Martin), sporting a black baseball cap, white Oxford shirt, and a nose as big as Pinocchio's, walks down the street in a confident strut -- for whatever reason, carrying a tennis racket. He is approached by two slack-jawed losers who spew "big nose" insults. Rather than slump down and walk on by, C.D. springs into action, engaging in an extended, acrobatic sword fight involving his tennis racket and the other men's ski poles. C.D. wins handily. He is very nearly the most skilled, able-bodied, complete man -- if it weren't for that huge nose.

That sword-fighting scene is indicative of the entire movie's attitude. Roxanne is an intelligent, playful flight of fancy, meant to be judged by the merits of its own universe, not the real world. Martin is a brilliant mind and a beautiful writer, and the light touch of his screenplay allows for this story to be set in the "real world," but graces it with such good cheer and unexpected whimsy that this film is like a fairy tale with jokes.

The film is another in a long line of Cyrano De Bergerac adaptations but is easily one of the very best -- and way more palatable than some of the more literal interpretations. The plot is instantly identifiable for anyone who's seen a few movies: smart, homely guy loves beautiful woman, beautiful woman loves stupid, beautiful man who overshadows homely guy, so homely guy helps beautiful man woo beautiful woman, until beautiful woman realizes she really loves homely guy. Martin's genius as a writer is to realize the story itself is pretty stale and then to infuse originality into how it is told -- in the character quirks, the minor plot details, the subtle literary references, the tangential flights of fancy. Roxanne works so well because Martin elevates the material from standard adaptation to sublime fantasy.

In this updating of the tale, C.D. is the local fire chief in his quaint California town. He is a mastermind, a genius who could win a fight with his words but possesses superior fighting skills as a backup. He can scale tall buildings with ease and impress a crowded bar with his comedic prowess... but of course that big nose is his most memorable feature. He flirts with getting a nose job, but can't bring himself to go through with it. ("Just hearing the word 'rhinoplasty' gives me the creeps.")

Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) is an astronomy student who meets C.D. one fateful night. They become fast friends, but any romantic interest is halted when Chris (Rick Rossovich) comes into town. He is a dumb beefcake, a hunky firefighter with less than half a brain who is attracted to Roxanne -- so attracted, in fact, that he vomits any time he comes near her. Needless to say, Chris is neither a suave lover nor a brilliant wordsmith, so he enlists C.D.'s help to woo Roxanne. Of course, Roxanne is quickly and passionately swooned, but little does she know that the substance belongs to C.D. Chris is merely the pretty face, the deceptive bow on the package.

The film hits all the familiar Cyrano notes: C.D. writes letters on Chris' behalf, feeds him suave lines while hiding in the bushes, and occasionally steps in to speak the lines himself, and Roxanne is none the wiser. The conceit is obviously far-fetched by any standard, but the movie makes no attempt to pretend its story is somehow realistic. In fact, the charm of Roxanne is how it effectively creates its own whimsical world of silly humor and light romance. We believe in these characters and are amused by their actions because they live in a world in which all this farce is possible. Martin and Hannah would be mismatched even without the nose, but they create wonderful, intelligent chemistry that drives their romance. Rossovich brings an oafish charm to the third edge of the triangle; he is such a transparent idiot that we can do nothing but shake our heads with a knowing smile. And Martin's script, the engine for this truly fun vehicle, crackles with literary ingenuity even in the face of a tired premise and well-known inspiration. Roxanne is a wonderful flight of cinematic fancy, one of American cinema's original intelligent fairy tales.



Roxanne

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th June 1987

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Michael Rachmil

Starring: as C.D. "Charlie" Bales, as Roxanne Kowalski, as Chris McConnell, as Dixie, as Chuck, as Mayor Deebs, Max Alexander as Dean, as Andy, Matt Lattanzi as Trent

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.