Unlike many of his comedic contemporaries, Steve Martin likes to take risks. Martin served as executive producer and wrote the screenplay for this modernization of Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac," which stars Martin as C.D. Bales, the fire chief in a small northwestern town, a much

beloved and witty man who happens to have a huge nose. C.D. has hired Chris McDonell (Rick Rossovich), a handsome dimwit who knows his way around hoses but not around women. Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah) is an astronomer who has rented a local house for the summer, and in scant moments we see

that C.D. is mad about Roxanne. But Roxanne gets a look at Chris and falls for him, whereupon Chris asks C.D. for help in wooing her. C.D. agrees, albeit reluctantly. Many wonderful jokes dot the picture, but it is, in essence, a love story and most satisfying in that respect. The bright, literate

screenplay sometimes descends into slapstick but stays close enough to its source that it pays homage without sacrificing originality. Martin makes his character amiable and downright lovable; Hannah shows a fire she hadn't demonstrated in previous efforts. In an era when romance seems to have

taken second place to sex, it's heartwarming to see a film like ROXANNE bring back the loveliness of love.