The Tall Guy
Ron Anderson: Listen, Dexter, is there something troubling you? Something that you would like to talk to someone about?
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.