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April 16, 2018

Roxanne (1987) --- "Guy With A Nose Deformity Falls In Love. Does He Win Her Heart?

Plot Summary
In this modern take on Edmond Rostand's classic play "Cyrano de Bergerac," C. D. Bales (Steve Martin) is the witty, intelligent and brave fire chief of a small Pacific Northwest town who, due to the size of his enormous nose, declines to pursue the girl of his dreams, lovely Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah). Instead, when his shy underling Chris McConnell (Rick Rossovich) becomes smitten with Roxanne, Bales feeds the handsome young man the words of love to win her heart. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     The first time I saw Steve Martin was in Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), and since then I have always had a good laugh with his films. So I am pleased to say that this film is no exception. Roxanne (1987) is a modern take on the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand and follows the fictionalized life story of Cyrano de Bergerac’s – a 17th-century French novelist, playwright, epistolary and duelist. Cyrano de Bergerac known here as C.D. Bales (Steve Martin) is a small mountain town fire chief who’s been 'blessed' with an abnormally large nose that poses a unique ability. When he meets newcomer Roxanne, the beautiful and smart astronomer, he immediately falls for her but fears that she will not like him because of his looks. 
"Sometimes I take a walk at night and I see couples walking, holding hands and I look at them and I think: "Why not me?" Then I catch my shadow on the wall..." - C.D. Bales...
     The power of this film is in the screenplay, and Steve Martin has written a dramatic, compellingly poetic, and humorous tale. Upon first glance of the plot, it is obvious that this film is packed with both situational and verbal humor, whether it’s seeing C.D.'s humorous effort to leave Roxanne's apartment undetected or trying to come up with better insults than `Big Nose.’ In other words, the plot is consistent with a sweet storyline and packed with fitting humor for every scene. Again the story is marginally based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac, which is also a fictionalized life-story, so much of the intricacies are lost especially since most people do not know, haven’t read or even seen the play. However, everyone can identify with C.D. Bales, the story of his ‘doomed’ love and quirky outlook on everyday life. The use of C.D.’s oversized nose is an interesting aspect because it brought out a touching subject in regards to a person’s appearance and other people’s opinions of one’s appearance. 
     This film takes advantage of Steve Martin's (The Man with Two Brains) comedy experience which plays a vital role in the film’s success since the focus is mainly on all the jokes. The fact that Martin did all his own stunts is unbelievable considering there are some difficult maneuvers, although they are executed brilliantly. In my book, Roxanne has gone down as the pinnacle of Martin's career as both an actor and a writer because it grabs the audience’s attention and it’s a deceptively simple story about the underdog falling for the beautiful girl. It also doesn’t hurt that C.D. is such a strong relatable character and it’s obvious that Martin has a blast inhabiting this role.
      Even though Steve Martin outshines the cast, the supporting characters are still just as great. Martin’s chemistry with Darryl Hannah (Steel Magnolias; Clan of the Cave Bears) is perfectly quirky and sweet. Hannah gives a great performance and she is surprisingly convincing as the smart and beautiful astronomy student Roxanne. Michael J. Pollard (Scrooged) as Andy, takes joy in a role that is primarily made up of corny one-liners that cause him to stand out among the other firefighters. Rick Rossovich (Top Gun) is interesting as Christ the incredibly shallow new firefighter recruit that Roxanne is initially infatuated with. Fred Willard (Anchorman: the Legend) as Mayor Deebs is good and Shelley Duval (1980, Popeye) as Dixie, the best friend who see’s both sides of this weird love triangle and pushes C.D. to express his feelings to Roxanne.
     Overall, Roxanne (1987) is an interesting, sweet, and funny story that is a modern take on the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand and follows the fictionalized life story of Cyrano de Bergerac’s – a 17th-century French novelist, playwright, epistolary and duelist. Audiences will easily fall in love with C.D.’s absent-minded fire department and the lightheartedness of the plot will brighten up anyone’s dour mood. The film has heart and humanity that most romantic comedies disregard as unnecessary, and that is was makes this film stand out as the pinnacle of Steve Martin's career as both an actor and a writer.

“I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream - and I hope you don't find this too crazy - is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, "Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!" That would be bad.”

- C.D. Bales

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  8 of 10 stars
Worth Buying:  8 of 10 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Roxanne (1987).

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