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|Dolly Parton||Shirlee Kenyon|
|James Woods||Jack Russell|
|Griffin Dunne||Alan Riegert|
|John Sayles||Guy Girardi|
|Spalding Gray||Dr. Erdman|
|Jerry Orbach||Milo Jacoby|
|Suzy Brack||Date at Restaurant|
"Dreams do come true...sometimes."
"A Once Upon A Lifetime Comedy."
Shirlee Kenyon, a down-home country girl who, through a series of mistakes, is hired as a radio talk show host. Her show is wildly successful but her success is based on the lie that she is actually a clinical psychologist. She has to learn that giving advice and following it can be harder than she thought.Shirlee starts off in the film as a dance instructor living in Arkansas. After she is fired for giving advice to her clients rather than teaching them dance, she attempts to convince her common-law husband to move to Chicago with her. After he declines and then belittles her, she decides to move there herself.Once she arrives, she is standing on a bridge enjoying the view of the city when she accidentally drops a twenty-dollar bill. As she climbs over the rail in an attempt to retrieve the money, Jack (played by James Woods) sees her from his office window. He is a reporter for a Chicago newspaper. He thinks she is trying to commit suicide, so he runs out to rescue her. As he attempts to grab her and save her, Shirlee almost falls and drops the money she was trying to recover. After they recover, she complains that he caused her to lose the twenty dollars she'd been trying to retrieve. Jack tries to give her money, saying she must need it more than he if she is willing to risk her life to retrieve it. She refuses and the two part. A bit later the same morning, Shirlee stops into a cafe for breakfast, and strikes up a converstion with another customer, Janice (Teri Hatcher), who is annoyed at having been stood up by her boyfriend the previous evening. Shirlee tells Janice that he is taking her for granted, and advises her to end the relationship, only to realize that Janice's boyfriend is, in fact, Jack; Jack shows up, and Janice tells him she no longer wants to see him, adding that Shirlee has helped her to realize how much Jack takes her for granted. Jack thanks Shirlee for "wrecking his entire day", as he exits the cafe.Shirlee goes on many different job interviews, and finally lands a job as a switchboard operator at a local radio station. After a few hours on the job, she inadvertently walks into a recording office, and the manager mistakes her for the new radio therapist. He puts her on the air and she reluctantly begins talking with the show's callers, eventually completing the show before being fired by the producer once he comes into the office. However, Shirlee's radio segment becomes in high demand with their radio audience therefore the radio station boss Mr. Perlman demands that Shirlee be the new radio personality, then Alan is forced to find Shirlee and convince her to do the show offering a $800 per week contract. Shirlee accepts the position, but there is one condition: she must agree to pretend to be a real clinical doctor. She doesn't want to mispresent herself, but reluctantly accepts and becomes a popular radio figure as "Doctor Shirlee."Jack, the newspaper reporter, suspects something when he realizes the woman who was ready to risk her life for twenty dollars is a doctor. Although his editor doesn't agree, Jack pursues the story. He begins to date Shirlee, at first in an attempt to get closer to her to uncover her story, but he soon begins to fall for her. Shirlee's boyfriend from Arkansas comes Chicago to try to get her back, though his attempts fall short, and Shirlee and Jack wind up making love. Afterwards, Jack develops true feelings for her and refuses to publish the story, eventually resigning from his job over the matter. However, while this is happening, Shirlee receives another visit from her ex, who tells her that he just remembered having previously met Jack in Arkansas, and that he was asking a number of questions about her. This leads Shirlee to realize that Jack is, in fact, a reporter, and his interest in her is merely a means to uncovering her story. She storms off, and refuses to take Jack's calls.As Shirlee's popularity increases -- her show has become so popular in Chicago that producers want to syndicate it nationally -- a mishap involving some of her previous advice to one of her callers evemtially causes her to confess the truth to everyone on air that she is not a real doctor, and then she leaves the show. All of her listeners call in and want her back, regardless of her credentials. Someone calls the show and tells everyone listening to honk their horns at midnight if they want Doctor Shirlee back. Jack tracks Shirlee down on the same bridge where they'd first met and convinces her to take him back. When she hears the horns, Jack tells them that they are for her. She eventually goes back to the radio show, but wants to be called just "Shirlee."
Theatrical : 1992-04-03 : United States of America
DVD : 2003-05-06