This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Tall Guy (1989)

"Great! Two people...on their own...in the middle of the afternoon...and not tired."
"Ideal circumstances for Scabble."
-Kate Lemmon & Dexter King



Jeff Goldblum has played many interesting roles during his career. Probably his most famous are the scientists he played in The Fly (1986) and Jurassic Park (1993). In between those two classics, though, Goldblum portrayed the title character/narrator of this British romantic comedy.
He plays an American actor named Dexter King, who has made a living for himself in England playing second banana to acclaimed but egotistical stage actor Ron Anderson (Rowan Atkinson). In addition to having a boss who loves only himself (and shouts down anyone who so much as talks without his permission), Dexter has an unsuccessful track record when it comes to romance. The only person he can vent to is his nymphomaniac landlady, Carmen (Geraldine James).
One day, Dexter contracts hay fever and, upon going to the doctor, instantly falls for a nurse named Kate Lemmon (Emma Thompson). This prompts him to ignore his fear of getting shots so he can talk to her. After some initial shyness, he finally asks Kate out, & she accepts.
Their first time sleeping together is probably the funniest sex scene ever filmed as the couple roll around so much, they knock many things in Kate's room down onto them. Their fun also leads to Dexter missing out on one of his scheduled evening shows, which, in turn, gives Ron a reason to fire him. By this point, though, Dexter's new positive outlook prompts him and Kate to simply retaliate by painting a mustache on Ron's picture which hangs outside his theater.
Dexter eventually finds work again by playing the lead in a musical version of The Elephant Man, which is simply titled Elephant! During production, though, he jeopardizes his relationship with Kate when he succumbs to the advances of a married costar, who says she's been a fan of his from his work with Ron.
Kate's best moment is when she puts the pieces together of this little get-together on the musical's opening night. Her clues are simply the way Dexter and the other woman react to each other, rather than the usual comedy cliches of finding a love letter or seeing an incriminating picture. With that, Kate promptly leaves him, sending Dexter back into his depressed state even though he now has a degree of artistic respectability under his belt.
His depression turns to anger, however, when, on the eve of another performance, Dexter sees on TV that Ron is dating Kate. He implusively leaves before the curtain rises and goes to confront Ron in another funny scene. Needless to say, Dexter & Kate make up soon afterward.
This was the first filmed screenplay written by Richard Curtis, who would later gain fame as the writer of such comedy classics as Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Notting Hill (1999), and Bridget Jones's Diary (2001).
Although the ending was basically inevitable, the movie has plenty of funny moments. Goldblum is perfect in the lead and displays sweet chemistry with Thompson, who made this film shortly before becoming a star (& an Oscar winner) with Howard's End (1992). Atkinson is also appropriately unlikable in what is basically a 'straight man' role for him, far from his character Bean (coincidentally, Curtis wrote the script for the 1997 Bean movie, as well).

No comments:

Post a Comment