[Quick Summary: After a mousy accountant gets engaged, she visits her fiancee's brother to invite him to the wedding, & falls in love with him.]
The thing about John Patrick Shanley's dialogue is that it is funny AND realistic, WITH subtext & attitude, WITHOUT edging into farce.
MR. JOHNNY: And I'll have the special fish.
LORETTA: You don't want the fish. [Nice attitude.]
MR. JOHNNY: No? [Meekness here shows he cowers before strong females.]
LORETTA: It's the oily fish tonight. Not before the plane ride. [She's got funny point of view, but she's got a point.]
MR. JOHNNY: Maybe you're right. [Dude is a doormat.]
LORETTA: Give him the manicotta, Bobo. Me, too. [She's in charge.]
BOBO: Yes, Miiss Loretta. [Everyone else also knows she's in charge.]
LORETTA (to Mr. Johnny): That will give you a base. For your stomach. You eat that oily fish, you go up in the air, halfway to Sicily you'll be green & your hands will be sweating.
MR. JOHNNY (smiles): You look after me. [Ironic. He sees this as caring, even though he's really being told what to do.]
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Great dialogue contains conflict without saying so.
by John Patrick Shanley