Straight Talk, James Woods, Spalding Gray, Jerry Orbach
Directed by Barnett Kellman
Walt Disney Home Video 2003
91 minutes

If you still have your VHS copy of the James Woods / Dolly Parton comedy Straight Talk, do not bother getting it on DVD. The picture quality is pretty much the same. Straight Talk is not a great comedy but it is fun to watch and amusing enough.

Dolly Parton is typecast as country girl and perpetual advice giver Shirlee Kenyon. Shirlee leaves her hometown to try her luck in Chicago. Oddly enough, there’s a Dolly Parton song playing everywhere Shirlee goes. She goes on a bridge to toss a coin and make a wish and ends up being rescued by star reporter Jack Russell (James Woods). This is kind of important later when Shirlee becomes a famous advice giver on the radio.

Straight Talk doesn’t waste much time. For example, it takes Shirlee (Parton) only a few minutes to go from temp receptionist to afternoon talk radio host because of a couple of accidents. Shirlee’s advice is very big on folksy expressions like “if you’re going to play pool on two tables you have to have a lot of balls but you are going to wear out your stick.”

Eventually, Shirlee becomes very big and reporter Jack Russell tries to uncover the truth about Dr. Shirlee Kendall. This causes Jack to start liking Shirlee a lot.

Straight Talk doesn’t get too complicated plot wise. Eventually things develop but not much really happens. Parton is comfortable as a folksy wisdom dame and Woods just goes along with everything and cashes in his paycheck.

If you are a Dolly Parton fan, you probably have this comedy on DVD. If not, it is a good little bargain bin movie –I got my copy for $2.44.


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