thatcow

Steve Martin's New Genesis

Roxanne is, of course, Steve Martin's adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac transplanted to a small town America. Martin plays our proboscissed protagonist with aplumb, finding himsself now the head of the local fire department, fighting fires rather than other men.

Perhaps the moderm Martin penned comedy can be traced back to Roxanne. They are relatively light and light-hearted, never openly challenging the audience, but making subtle little comments on life and people in general. I feel like he's getting better and better at this style. Which, if Roxanne is the progenitor of it all, would seem to imply it falls behind his most recent work.

To a degree that's true, and the main issue I see is a lack of cohesiveness in theme. Roxanne meanders a bit from the uncertain lover angle, in what seems an obvious attempt to contrast with the character's strong workplace confidence elsewise. This execution doesn't really work, even though the scenes themselves play very well for a light comedy. The writing got much, much tighter by the time Martin got to Bowfinger, which is tight and focused, but still every bit as light and fluffy as anything Martin has done.

Don't get me wrong. Roxanne is a very pleasant viewing experience. It's just not really as good as it would like to be in terms of exploring some of its deeper themes. Provided you aren't attached to an academic analysis, it makes for a lovely viewing experience.

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