The Tall Guy, as you might gather, isn't long on originality and Smith's direction is serviceable at best. But it boasts an intelligent and intermittently witty script from Richard Curtis (his first for a feature film), and coasts through on the charm of the two leads, a ripely self-mocking performance from Atkinson and some diverting set-pieces--not least a spoof sex-scene where Goldblum and Thompson, in the urgency of their rampant lust, demolish the contents of an entire room. (This scene was replayed in deadly earnest in Chen Kaige's calamitous excursion into English-language thrillers, Killing Me Softly.) Smith and Curtis also have fun sending up various types of theatre: there's an audition for a Steven Berkoff production where the actors are required to scream "Fuck off" at each for minutes on end, and the musical (hit song "I'm Packing My Trunk") wickedly spoofs the Andrew Lloyd Webber school of composition.
On the DVD: The Tall Guy offers no extras except the theatrical trailer. The transfer is full-width, and both sound and visual come up cleanly. --Philip Kemp
Emma Thomson - although not among my favourite actors - is great in this role. Her way-too-honest and abrupt manner is somehow refreshing and you genuinely like her. Jeff Goldblum is an american actor lacking in confidence who plays an unnoticed side-kick in Rowan Atkinson's character's stage show.
A lot of this movie is focussed on the production of a musical based on the Elephant Man - which frankly is reason enough to watch it. It's just so offensive - it's wonderful!
A very good movie. Very British and maybe slightly dated but still very good fun.
The script is absolutely hilarious! This is not just Richard Curtis' funniest film, but also one of the funniest films I have ever seen. It will have you laughing out loud from start to finish!
The cast is also superb: Rowan Atkinson, Jeff Goldblum, Emma Thompson. Need I say more?
It shows its youthfulness. Just as 'Four Weddings' had at its core a string of sketches based on weddings Curtis had attended (but very skillfully linked by a romantic story), so 'The Tall Guy' appears to have started with the idea of a pastiche musical based on the Elephant Man, around which Curtis wraps a romance between a supporting actor and a nurse.
Curtis's great buddy from Oxford, Rowan Atkinson, is brought in to play a control-freak comedian -- no type-casting there, then -- but there are a few ex-Cambridge people too: Emma Thompson, Mel Smith etc. Jeff Goldblum is good as the lead, but there's no evidence that the script was specially written for him in particular or an American in general.
This film is perhaps now best known for the slapstick sex scene between Thompson and Goldblum, which manages to be (slightly) erotic while also revealing a basic truth about the domestic tidiness of all nurses I have known.
Many of the standard Curtis plot elements appear in a formative stage for this film: the early sexual encounter, followed by the break-up, followed by a finale in which the protagonists make a grand declaration of true love in front of a large crowd, the pop video sequence etc etc.
I suspect this is now a budget-priced DVD because Curtis is slightly embarrassed by it. But it's 88 enjoyable minutes of good, largely clean fun. As ever, Emma Thompson is the most convincing actor on the screen. Fifteen years on, she talks frankly about her varicose veins and growing old.... Read more ›
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