Not your average romantic comedy, this Setting Update of the play Cyrano de Bergerac tells the story of C.D. "Charlie" Bales (Steve Martin), the long-nosed fire chief of a small quirky town and Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah), a visiting astronomy student. Bales, in love with Roxanne from the start but violently self-conscious about his schnozz, settles for helping a handsome but ditzy and awkward fireman woo her. The results are predictable, if you know the story, but the humor surrounding the town and C.D.'s nose set the movie apart.
"Twenty better tropes than just 'Big Nose'":
- The Ace: CD, although his insecurity about his nose still hinders his ability to pursue women.
- Adorkable: Chris, who is insanely shy around women, despite his good looks and prowess as a firefighter. Part of why he ends up with Sandy instead of continuing to go after Roxanne is because he finds he can be comfortable and open around her without getting tonguetied.
- As You Know: The film explains why CD can't get a nose job in an early scene where a plastic surgeon reminds him, as if for the hundredth time, that he's (fatally) allergic to anesthetic.C.D.: Then we'll do it the old-fashioned way! (breaks out the bottle of booze)
- Berserk Button: If you insult C.D.'s nose, prepare to be shown up, then decked!
- One funny moment has C.D.'s mild reaction to Chris going on about how big CD's nose was, since C.D. was on a high thinking Roxanne was into him, with everyone but Chris fleeing the scene thinking he'd beat Chris to a pulp. However, when he doesn't do it and one of the firemen muses that C.D. finally has a sense of humor about his nose, C.D. wordlessly yanks him down by his tie.
- Beta Couple: Chris and Sandy hit it off pretty quick right after meeting, and ultimately end up together.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Aside from C.D., you have a Noodle Incident with Andy (played by nebbish Michael J. Pollard), who just knocked Jerry (Damon Wayans) out.Andy: Hey, he owes me fifty bucks.Ralston: You animal!
- Book Dumb: Chris isn't a complete idiot, and he does have a kind of lowbrow wit and basic ability to appreciate natural beauty as revealed in his conversations with Sandy, but he clearly doesn't have a ton of formal education and often finds his baser instincts clouding his judgment.
- Deadpan Snarker: C.D., and HOW.C.D.: I think it's brilliant! What an idea! And I was there! He took the idea! He saw it ripe on the tree, he plucked it, and he put it in his pocket. It's, it's, dare I say... genius? Ah, no, no! But maybe (acts as if he just stepped in a deep pile of dog shit) ooh! ah! maybe it is! Maybe I'm in the presence of greatness, maybe I just don't know it. But I saw it...
- The Ditz: Chris is a male example.
- Earpiece Conversation
- Gag Nose: Obviously.
- Hot Scientist: Roxanne
- Jerkass: The drunk skiers at the beginning and the barfly who calls C.D. "big nose" for no reason other than to pick a fight - all of whom are swiftly and awesomely put in their places by CD.
- Idiot Savant: Again, Chris. He may not seem that bright, but he was brought in as an expert firefighter, and he does help C.D. finally whip the fire department into shape. (He's also great with playing cards, leading him to leave town to be a Vegas dealer.)
- Ignore the Disability: "Would you like a little wine with your nose?" and others.
- I Have This Friend: CD asks a pharmacist about shading creams, saying that he has a friend who would like to cover up a certain "feature". She's not fooled in the slightest.
- Insult Backfire/Wrong Insult Offence: When a man in a bar calls him "Big Nose" to pick a fight, CD mocks him for refusing to come up with something more imaginative.
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: When CD seduces Roxanne for him, a combination of guilt and nerves prevents Chris from sealing the deal more than twice.
- Long List: A remark from a bar patron on C.D.'s nose causes him to lay into him, chastising the man for poor insult technique and list off 20 unique nose jokes.
- Loves My Alter Ego
- Meet Cute: CD and Roxanne meet when she's naked and trapped outside. He helps her get back into her home.
- Mondegreen: Source of a Crowning Moment of Funny:CD: (standing on Roxanne's porch) "Ten more seconds and I'm leaving!"Roxanne: (coming out of the house) "What did you say?"CD: "I said ten more seconds and I'm leaving."Roxanne: "Oh."CD: "Wait, what did you think I said?"Roxanne: "I thought you said 'earn more sessions by sleeving.'"CD: "...What does that even mean?"Roxanne: "I don't know; that's why I came out to ask."
- Ms. Fanservice: Roxanne when she gets trapped outside naked.
- Naked First Impression: Roxanne is naked the first time she meets C.D.
- UnderstatementAndy: Hey, Chief. Need any help?C.D.: Nah. Just someone locked out of their house.
- Naked on Arrival: Roxanne the first time C.D. meets her.
- Naked People Trapped Outside: Roxanne gets locked out of her house, and her robe gets caught in the door. There is a brief scene of her using her arm and hand to cover her breasts and crotch.
- Never Heard That One Before: C.D.'s Long List plays with this.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: C.D. may have done this when he pretended to fall for Roxanne's sarcasm about not wanting a coat when she was naked - just to prolong her public nudity.
- Offhand Backhand: C.D., after the Long List of jokes, does this to level the Jerkass who insulted him.
- Playing Cyrano
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: C.D. to the two drunk Jerk Ass skiers:C.D.: I just want to say that I really admire your shoes. They're really quite nice. But you see, as much as I admire your shoes, and as much as I'd like to have a pair like them, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes, at this particular time. ::cue Curb-Stomp Battle::
- Sad Clown: As put by Roger Ebert:Martin plays a man with a smile on his face and a broken heart inside - a man who laughs that he may not cry.
- Self-Deprecation: When yokels make fun of C.D.'s nose, he shows them how much better he can do it himself.
- Setting Update
- Shown Their Work: The movie follows the play very closely. For instance, the duel with the racket, that's in the play. The only change was that the film couldn't have C.D. running around killing people.
- Sitting on the Roof: C.D., along with a pudgy kid in one scene
- Spared by the Adaptation: The tale ends much more happily for most of the characters than that of Cyrano de Bergerac. Most importantly: C.D. not only gets the girl in the end, but lives to enjoy it.
- Stood Up: "I met somebody else and she's real great too..."
- Talkative Loon: C.D., but an endearing one.
- Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: C.D.'s volunteer fire department. The first time we see the firehouse, CD arrives to find a fire burning in a barrel in the firehouse. This sets him off with an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech.C.D.: 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.
- Unflinching Walk: After beating up the barfly after the long list scene, he doesn't bother to look back, only asking Roxanne, "Has he fallen yet?"
- Unfortunate Names:Roxanne: (Naming the comet she discovered) "Comet Kowalski."
C.D.: "'Kowalski'? Why? You've got a chance to give it a beautiful name!"
Roxanne: "That's my name."
C.D.: "It is? Roxanne Kowalski? Oh, heh-heh... sorry."
- Becomes a Brick Joke later: At the end, Roxanne reveals she's going to name it "Comet Charlie". But it turns out, Charlie's also the name of her father, so she wasn't naming it after C.D.
- Waxing Lyrical: C.D. sings Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'" in the opening scene.
- Wrong Guy First