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Film: The Tall Guy
Ron Anderson: Listen, Dexter, is there something troubling you? Something that you would like to talk to someone about?
Dexter: Well, yes, as a matter of fact there is...
Ron Anderson: Then for fuck's sake talk to someone about it, will you? And sort it out before I sack you and hire a lobotomized monkey to play your role. Okay?

Dexter King (Jeff Goldblum) is an American actor working in London. For the last six years he has played "The Tall Guy", a straight man to annoying, egotistical, and outright abusive stage comedian Ron Anderson (Rowan Atkinson). Fired by Anderson for improvising, he fails a few auditions, commiserates with his nymphomaniac housemate (Geraldine James), meets and falls in love with beautiful nurse Kate Lemon (Emma Thompson), and finally lands the role in a musical adaptation of The Elephant Man. Referred to by critic Roger Ebert as a "sweet, whimsical and surprisingly intelligent comedy"; it has what is very likely the funniest and most unintentionally destructive bedroom scene in the history of film.


Tropes present in the film:

  • Adorkable: Well, it is Jeff Goldblum after all. Emma Thompson isn't normally this trope; but she takes a good stab at it in this film.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kate Lemon. She is British after all.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Kate's bedroom will never be the same.
  • Fan Disservice: In-universe for Dexter as well as for the audience; with all the hairy middle-aged men walking around naked in Carmen's house.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Kate's apparent easiness is part of her charm.
  • Self-Deprecating Humor: Rowan Atkinson plays an exaggerated and obnoxious version of his stand-up stage persona; who is constantly name-dropping the royal family.
    Ron Anderson: Sorry I'm so late. Had some rather special guests at my show tonight. Difficult to tell the heir to the throne to bugger off because you've got a party to go to.
  • Show Within a Show: Type 1. Dexter lands the lead role in a musical adaptation of The Elephant Man of all things, being performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Roger Ebert refers to it as "the funniest deliberately bad play in a movie since Mel Brooks' "Springtime for Hitler" in The Producers."
    • He starts out playing a straight man in Ron Anderson's comedy revue.
  • Take That: The Show Within a Show is a brilliant send-up of the modern musical. Several others are also poked fun at in this exchange between Dexter and his agent:
    Dexter: A musical of the Elephant Man? What's it called?
    Mary: "Elephant", I think - with an exclamation mark, presumably.
    Dexter: Pity the poor bastard who has to play the elephant.
    Mary: Remember dearest, everyone thought Jesus Christ Superstar was a stupid idea.
    Dexter: Jesus Christ Superstar WAS a stupid idea.
  • The Musical: Parodied with Elephant! See Take That above.
  • Title Drop: Dexter's role in Ron Anderson's show is listed simply as "The Tall Guy". Being that it's the 6' 4.5" (1.94 m) Goldblum, it's certainly a physically descriptive title.


Shallow GraveBritish FilmsThe Thomas Crown Affair
StaticFilms of the 1980síThree Amigos!

alternative title(s): The Tall Guy
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