The curious pairing of pneumatic Dolly Parton with neurasthenic James Woods for this musical romantic comedy may have been an inspiration, but it wasnt one that will rank right up there alongside peanut butter with cream cheese, Spencer Tracy with Katherine Hepburn, or Roy Rogers with Trigger. Parton is sassy, straight-shooting Shirlee, small town gal, failed dance instructor and natural-born busybody, who resolves to rid herself of losers and make a new life in Chicago.
Down on her luck (if not at heel in the most alarming collection of stilletto shoes), she accidentally becomes the toast of talk radio when she is idiotically mistaken for a no-show shrink and delights listeners with her folksy life wisdom to advice seeking phoners-in. One would have thought those city slickers in Chicagey would be a might sharp to go crazy for Dr. Shirlee sort of a cornpone Dr. Ruth with cleavage. But if one is prepared to accept Shirleemania gripping the megalopolis, the ensuing developments accompanied by a soundtrack of new Parton songs seem reasonable enough. Woods as a maverick investigative journalist just for a change of pace is assigned to check the background and dig up the dirt on the good doctor, and is, of course, overwhelmed by her, er, credentials.
As ever, Parton comes over as a smart, sweet, funny, charming woman. Woods, looking terrible, is less happily employed with quite the most excrutiatingly corny lines of his career, while Griffin Dunne as the radio station manager is simply very not funny. Its not unagreeable, but as slight as can be.