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Life is sweet for high-school English teacher and sports coach Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline); he's still living where he grew up, he has a good relationship with his father (Wilford Brimley) and mother (Debbie Reynolds), he's respected by his community, and he's about to marry Emily (Joan Cusack), his fiancée of three years. Fearing she was about to become an old maid, Emily has shed 75 pounds for the upcoming nuptials. But first, the entire town of Greenleaf, IN, settles in to watch the Academy Award telecast, because young stud star Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon), who attended Greenleaf High, has been nominated for an Oscar. What's more, he wins, and in his acceptance speech, singles out Howard -- and announces his favorite teacher is gay. Everyone in town is thunderstruck, including Howard himself. The media descend on the town, particularly Peter Malloy (Tom Selleck), whose job is hanging by a thread. Even worse, Howard's principal Tom Halliwell (Bob Newhart) is shaken by the news, and is toying with firing Howard. The beleaguered teacher tries to convince everyone (and himself) that he's as straight and macho as the next guy; he even tries to follow the rules on a motivational tape, "Be a Man." But his fondness for Barbra Streisand, his theatrical mannerisms, and the fact that he and Emily have yet to make love make everyone's eyebrows stay permanently raised. Meanwhile, out in Hollywood, Cameron, who's really a decent guy, learns about the problems his impulsive comment has caused, and heads back to Greenleaf to see what he can do to help. Howard's mother is fiercely determined to see at least one of her two sons wed -- Walter (Gregory Jbara), the other, is a doofus -- and as the wedding date draws nearer and nearer, poor Howard's life flies even farther out of control. ~ Bill Warren, Rovi

  • Release date:September 19, 1997


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Kevin Kline Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1997 Nominee
Broadcast Film Critics Association Joan Cusack Best Supporting Actress 1997 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Joan Cusack Best Supporting Actress 1997 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Joan Cusack Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1997 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Joan Cusack Best Supporting Actress 1997 Nominee


Kevin Kline
as Howard Brackett
Joan Cusack
as Emily Montgomery
Matt Dillon
as Cameron Drake
Debbie Reynolds
as Berniece Brackett
Wilford Brimley
as Frank Brackett
Bob Newhart
as Tom Halliwell
Tom Selleck
as Peter Malloy
Deborah Rush
as Ava Blazer
Lewis J. Stadlen
as Ed Kenrow
Gregory Jbara
as Walter Brackett
Shalom Harlow
as Sonya
J. Smith-Cameron
as Trina Paxton
Kate McGregor-Stewart
as Aunt Becky
Shawn Hatosy
as Jack
Zak Orth
as Mike
Lauren Ambrose
as Vicky
Alexandra Holden
as Meredith
Whoopi Goldberg
as Herself
Glenn Close
as Herself
Selma Blair
as Cousin Linda
Glenn Close
as Herself
Whoopi Goldberg
as Herself


Frank Oz
Scott Rudin
Paul Rudnick
Rob Hahn
Marc Shaiman
Composer (Music Score)
John Jympson
Ken Adam
Production Designer
Charley Beal
Art Director
G. Mac Brown
Suzanne Santry
Associate Producer
Adam Schroeder
Executive Producer
Leslie Pope
Set Designer
Ann Roth
Costume Designer
Danny Michael
Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Steele
First Assistant Director
Margery Simkin