ROXANNE (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
April 27, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“A hilarious romantic comedy featuring one of the best performances by Steve Martin ever! A film loosely based on ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’, Martin’s witty screenplay definitely makes ‘ROXANNE’ a film worth watching!”
DURATION: 107 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 (2:40:1), Dolby TrueHD English 5.1, French (Parisian) 5.1, Spanish (Latin Am) 5.1, Portuguese (Brazil) 5.1. Subtitles(s): English (US), French (Parisian), Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Latin Am). Aspect Ratio: 2.40
COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2009
Based on “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmon Rostand
Directed by Fred Schepisi
Screenplay by Steve Martin
Produced by Daniel Melnick, Michael I. Rachmil
Executive Produced by Steve Martin
Music by Bruce Smeaton
Director of Photography: Ian Baker
Edited by John Scott
Production Design by Jackson De Govia
Art Direction by David Fischer
Set Decoration by Kimberley Richardson
Steve Martin as C.D. “Charlie” Bales
Daryl Hannah as Roxanne Kowalski
Rick Rossovich as Chris McConnell
Shelley Duvall as Dixie
John Kapelos as Chuck
Fred Willard as Mayor Deebs
Shandra Beri as Sandy
Max Alexander as Dean
Michael J. Pollard as Andy
Steve Mittleman as Ralston
Damon Wayans as Jerry
In 1987, the romantic comedy film “ROXANNE” starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah, a modern retelling of “Cyrano de Bergerac”, was a film that received critical acclaim and has been regarded as one of the Steve Martin’s best work as an actor and screenwriter.
The film was directed by Fred Schepisi (“Six Degrees of Separation”, “Mr. Baseball”, “Iceman”, “The Devil’s Playground”, etc.)
The film revolves around C.D. Bales (Martin) as a fire chief in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. A witty intelligent, skilled, acrobatic and witty man, he is also known in town for his large nose.
Known to be sensitive towards people looking or making remarks about his nose, the film kicks off with C.D. coming from a game of tennis where he encounters two drunk men who immediately crack jokes about his nose and immediately try to assault him. But using his tennis racket as a defensive weapon, C.D. is able to counter their attacks and beat them.
Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah) is an astronomer who has been living in the town for a short time but while trying to bring her cat back into the house, the door shuts and traps her bath robe and is locked, preventing her from getting back into the house. In order to check for any entrances, she has to strip naked but to no avail. She goes to the fire station nearby and asks C.D. for help in opening her door.
C.D. brings his toolbox with nothing inside but a credit card. As he tells her to hide in the bushes, the credit card doesn’t work but C.D. jumps and manages to climb third stories rather quickly, get in and open the door for Roxanne.
While she gets in, C.D. has quickly made some sandwiches and enjoys a short conversation with Roxanne as they try to know each other. C.D. seems quite interested in her. His best friend Dixie (Shelley Duvall) tries to convince him to go for Roxanne. Roxanne happens to hang out with Dixie and the bar tender, Sandy (Shandra Beri).
Meanwhile, Chuck (John Kapelos) brings a new guy into the fire department, hunky Chris McConnell (Rick Rossovich) known for getting the ladies. The other firefighters try to warn Chris not to look of comment on C.D.’s nose if possible. Chris doesn’t know what the big deal is.
While at the bar, Chuck tries to go flirt with Roxanne but to no avail. Meanwhile, Chris and Roxanne’s eyes meet and Chris runs out of the bar puking.
The following day, Chris sees Roxanne hanging out with Dixie and Sandy and their eyes meet once again. Before he attempts to talk to her, he goes into the restroom to freshen up but ends up hitting the water faucet which sprays water on the front of his pants. Embarrassed and scared, Chris escapes through the bathroom window.
As C.D. tries to train his firefighters (who are a bit untrained and quite clumsy), he meets Chris for the first time and Chris immediately becomes fixated on his nose. The firefighters who warned Chris leave the building but C.D. doesn’t get too overly upset and just takes it. Afterall, he’s a man in love.
In another instance with Roxanne and Chris not far from each other, Chris picks up a book for one of the firemen and Roxanne mistakes that he is getting the book for himself. This impresses Roxanne as she is tired of being with men who are into her for the sex but wants a man who is intelligent.
As for C.D., he finds himself helping Roxanne with her microscope and learning more about her. He is very touched and starts do develop some feelings for her. That is until she tells him that she’s interested in a guy that works for him. She’s interested in Chris.
So, being the kind guy that he is, C.D. tries to help Chris but the problem is that she’s interested in his intelligence and for Chris, he has a problem talking with girls and being around them. Thus, C.D. immediately helps him by writing a letter which touches Roxanne but now Roxanne wants more and Chris, who is not too smart, needs C.D.’s help.
So, C.D. comes up with ideas using technology such as Chris wearing an ear piece (while he sports a hunting cap to hide the ear piece) and when Chris is alone with her, C.D. will tell him exactly what to say. But can C.D. continue to help Chris while knowing that he is in love with her and knowing that she is falling for his words…not Chris’s.
“ROXANNE” is an entertaining romantic comedy with Steve Martin in the top of his game.
Featuring clever writing, wonderful acting and Steve Martin carrying this film to incredible heights through a perfect blend of romance and comedy.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
To see “ROXANNE” in high-definition was actually quite nice. The location in the Pacific Northwest shows us the mountain regions surrounding the area, sunshine, blue waters. Now in 1080p High Definition with an aspect ratio of 2:40:1, the film really does bring out the outdoor scenes and for an late 1980’s film, the picture quality is actually pretty good.
The film does show its age because of the fashion (Daryl Hanna’s leather boots and Fred Willard’s Miami Vice fashion is so easily identifiable with the 80’s) and musical styles presented and there are times that the film looks soft but for the most part, picture quality is clean.,
For a film that is over 20-years-old, you really can’t go wrong with this Blu-ray release because currently, it is the best looking transfer that you will ever find of the film.
As for audio, “ROXANNE” is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English, French and Portuguese) and a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital track. The film is dialogue heavy and thus a lot of the film is front channel-based and there are no use for special effects or rear channels for this film, so expect to see mostly your front and center channels being utilized. Audio is clear and well-understood and the scenes that showcase classical music was delightful to hear as well.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included. The Blu-ray disc for “ROXANNE” is BD LIVE enabled.
It has been well over 20 years since I first saw “ROXANNE” on cable and for the most part, watching the film again, I can say that it does hold up quite well nearly 23 years later.
Steve Martin was absolutely fabulous in this film and his role as an executive producer, main actor and screenplay writer must have been quite interesting because he manages to seamlessly make this film seem smooth. How he took the storyline of “Cyrano De Bergerac” and wrote his interpretations for his character was a bit humorous and entertaining.
But when it comes to Steve Martin, it’s all about delivery. Martin owned this role.
There is one scene where he is encountered by a man at the bar who wants to fight him but after losing a bet in darts, Martin’s character C.D. has to come up with 20 unique nose jokes. Martin flawlessly pulls off over two dozen and you can tell by the talent watching him at the bar as they all watch him showcase his acting style, his quick wit but smooth delivery of his lines, they were impressed.
Of course, watching Daryl Hannah in her 80’s clothing and hairstyle definitely made this film feel “80’s” but thankfully for the High Definition transfer, watching “ROXANNE” in 1080p High Definition was quite nice. Seeing her blue eyes and beautiful smile definitely made her one of the popular actresses of the 1980’s and both she and Martin, both look incredible now as they were 23 years ago.
And of course, the film also features a good number of talent such as the popular Shelley Duvall, “Top Gun” actor Rick Rossovich, Fred Willard, John Kapelos and emerging stars Damon Wayans and Kevin Nealon.
With a lot of positive to say about the film, the negative would be the lack of any bonus features. Granted, this film is an older film but it would have been nice to see Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah or even director Fred Schepisi make some sort of comment.
And for a comedy film, there has to be a gag reel or something that could have been thrown in. Not even the theatrical trailer was included and that is my only problem with this release.. the lack of any special features but the trailers for other films.
Overall, you can’t fault the film because it’s an entertaining romantic comedy that continues to stand the test of time and now it’s available on Blu-ray ala High Def. If you are a Steve Martin fan, “ROXANNE” is a film that deserves to be in your collection. It’s one of his best films (next to my favorite feat. Steve Martin, 1991’s ‘L.A. Story’) and definitely a film worth checking out!
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