Dexter King plays straight man to unpleasant comedian Ron Anderson. He falls in love with Kate, a pretty nurse he meets when he is receiving injections for hay fever. When Anderson fires ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Emil Wolk ...
Harold Innocent ...
Joanna Kanska ...
Peter Kelly ...
Tim Barlow ...
Mr. Morrow (as Timothy Barlow)
Hugh Thomas ...
Dr. Karabekian
Charles Augins ...
Peter Brewis ...
Joolia Cappleman ...
Costume Designer


Dexter King plays straight man to unpleasant comedian Ron Anderson. He falls in love with Kate, a pretty nurse he meets when he is receiving injections for hay fever. When Anderson fires him, he acquires the title role in a musical stage version of "The Elephant Man". Kate dumps him when she suspects he is having an affair with a fellow cast member, and he must win her back. Written by Alexander Lum <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nagy balek  »

Box Office


$510,712 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First feature film of Jason Isaacs. See more »


In a shower scene late in the movie the camera moves to a high vantage point, showing the shorts that Dexter is wearing. See more »


Dexter: I hope all your children have very small dicks! And that includes the girls!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Michael Fitzgerald's full credit in the movie is "Man with vacuum cleaner tube up his bottom." See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Guilty Pleasures (1992) See more »


Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Written by Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield
Performed by Philip Pope
Published by Screen Gems-EMI Music Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Ironically, its Rowan who plays the straight man in Richard Curtis' fictionalised version of his frustration playing straight man for Rowan.

Richard Curtis has written some impressive romantic comedies (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, Love Actually) and had his hand in the writing of some of the top British TV comedy of our time (Mr Bean, Not the 9 O'Clock news, Blackadder). This was one of his first scripts to be turned into a feature film.

He wrote this script about his own experience playing straight man to Rowan Atkinson on his early tours. Curtis was frustrated in real life with being under the shadow of Atkinson, but the script obviously makes a caricature out of this by turning Atkinson into a terrible, nasty villain. But, Rowan fans beware, this is not as fun as it sounds. The unkindest touch of all was added by Rowan himself. He makes himself appear completely unfunny. He plays his backstage self without a touch of humour or subversion - one would almost swear that Rowan just really was a nasty bast*rd.

But anyone who's seen Rowan's stage shows, or Not the 9 O'Clock News, knows that Rowan can play a bastard with ironic humour, where we know he's only kidding - on stage, Rowan specialised in bastards like the vicars and schoolmasters he's played, and nobodies like Mr Bean. Here, Rowan knew it was important for the story for Rowan to not actually be funny, and the straight man to actually be funny. Plus, we need to root for the straight man (played by Jeff Golblum). Rowan's being a villain is the story's main source of conflict and dramatic tension. Without it, there isn't a story. So Rowan has, ironically, done a brave and humble thing by agreeing to play it completely straight, humourless and cold - and he shows himself a really good dramatic actor (though the experience may be disheartening for Rowan fans).

So if you're a Rowan fan, this will not be for you. If you're a Richard Curtis fan, this is a fairly simple and conventional script, but its quite a fun romantic comedy nonetheless. Emma Thomson is suitably cold and severe, and Jeff Golblum makes a good everyman. 6/10.

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