Dolly Parton and James Woods as the screen's hottest new romantic team? That's only one of several casting surprises in this romantic comedy. Shirlee Kenyon (Dolly Parton) has had enough of life in her small Arkansas town, not to mention her small-minded Arkansas boyfriend Steve (Michael Madsen). So she decides to head for the big city of Chicago, where she applies for a job as a receptionist at a talk radio station. However, she arrives at the studios just as the staff are frantically searching for the psychiatrist hired to host a call-in show for people seeking advice with their personal problems. Shirlee is put on the air by mistake, and, while she lacks a degree in psychology, she has common sense to spare, and her no-nonsense advice makes the show a hit. Soon "Doctor Shirlee" is the talk of the town, but reporter Jack Russell (James Woods) senses that she might not be all she's supposed to be. Jack does some investigating and finds out the truth about Shirlee, but by this time the two have met and he's fallen in love with her. Will Jack obey his responsibilities as a journalist, or follow his heart? Straight Talk's supporting cast includes filmmaker John Sayles, monologist Spalding Gray, actor and producer Griffin Dunne, and future Lois Lane Teri Hatcher.
by Mark Deming synopsis