Kevin Kline is aces here; unfortunately this doesn't extend to the rest of the cast and crew (though Ueli Steiger's cinematography is reliably luscious).When Kevin Kline takes on a dramatic role, he's usually dull -- a handsome milquetoast with an SAG card; but when he does comedy, a dormant talent seems to awaken, and he's nothing short of spectacular -- as his 1988 Oscar win for his performance as the eccentric hit man in A Fish Called Wanda more than proved (after all, the Academy's record on Oscars for actors in comedy has always been dire). Kline is, again, spectacular as a former soap-opera actor in the satirical Soapdish, where he blows everyone within earshot right off the screen. Granted, the screenplay affords him a good number of amusing scenes -- my favorite is his being reduced to performing Death of a Salesman at a Florida dinner theatre to a bunch of geriatrics who are hard of hearing ("Did he say, 'The mayor of Providence.'?") and clumsy (when a lady knocks her coffee cup over, to silence the lady from repeatedly calling for the waiter, Kline steps off the stage to clean it up, eliciting a thank-you and a compliment that he's doing very well up there) -- but Kline takes the written words and injects oodles of sharp irony into them, and it's something truly beautiful, like watching a bud blossom into a rose. Unfortunately, Kline is the only worthwhile element in a film that's overly broad way too much of the time and thus wears you down not fifteen minutes into it, with director Michael Hoffman's jackhammer-like subtlety the chief culprit. Like way too many sitcoms, each scene comes with it's own built-in climax, so the comedy is given little chance to build (excepting the dinner-theatre bit); combine this with most of the actors (particularly the gruesome Sally Field and Whoopi Goldberg) shouting their dialogue so shrilly a bullhorn couldn't be heard, and you have yourself an abrasive "entertainment" that goes down as well as swallowing two aspirins with a dry throat. Yet Soapdish isn't a complete waste. After all, for those seeking to watch a true comedic genius at work, there's Kline hitting each verbal and physical joke right out of the park in spades.1982's "Tootsie" unleashed far better jabs at soap operas.