The Tall Guy

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

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 Lemmon (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 used in The Tall Guy include:
  • 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.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: The sex scene between Dexter and Kate is both hilariously funny and a whirlwind of destruction. Between the two of them, they managed to accidentally break nearly everything in Kate's bedroom.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kate Lemmon. She is British after all.
  • 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.
  • Genius Bonus: One of Dexter's failed audtions is for a play by real-life controversial British stage performer and directory Steven Berkoff; which he fails for not being "angry" enough. Berkoff's plays are known for their angry, violent, "in yer face" style.
  • 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.

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.