There’s definitely not a shortage of romantic comedies out there – every year there is a slew that hits theaters with big names and high concepts. Most of the time it’s a journey for a young woman (or a not-so-young woman) in finally getting her life together and falling in love with the most unlikely of men. There’s also no short of indie comedies with quirky sensibilities. Strangely enough, Weather Girl fits into both categories without fully fitting into either. That’s because with all the indie sensibilities that it carries, it’s still the same old stock romantic comedy formula we’ve seen time and time again.
Headstrong Sylvia (Tricia O’Kelley) loses it on-screen during her Wacky Weather Girl segment after finding her co-worker Sherry’s (Kaitlin Olson) panties in her live-in boyfriend and fellow colleague’s (Mark Harmon) dressing room. Unhirable in her profession, she is forced to start over by crashing with her brother and waiting tables until she gets back on her feet. Of course, hooking up with his best friend also seems like a great idea.
It’s sort of confusing to see an indie be so formulaic. On the one hand, it’s refreshing not to have to slog through the (also formulaic) quirky overkill that most indie comedies shoot for these days. On the other, it’s difficult to justify seeing the formula play out on screen with no stars and lesser production value. Not that that’s a real stumbling block – it’s just the case that Weather Girl comes off ultimately as another average comedy.
It starts off well-intentioned enough with a fantastic monologue from Sylvia while the entire morning show demographic and her cheating cheese-faced boyfriend watch on. In true modern fashion, the Wacky Weather Girl becomes an internet sensation, so while she hunts for a new job, she’s constantly reminded of her grand misstep that got her fired. Obviously there’s a lot going on here emotionally, or at least a lot of frustration. She’s a smart woman who has succumb to a moment of irrationality that finds her starting her life over in her mid-30s. She’s left the condo she and Dale shared, has no job, and therefore no health insurance, and her friends seem like total bitches obsessed with status.
The saving grace of what should be a fairly missable movie is the strength of the actors. It’s always a toss up when dealing with indies, and most of the time it’s safe to bet against the actors, but Tricia O’Kelley pulls off a few small wonders. She’s funny, sexy, and pulls together a character at what seems like the lowest point in her life. She does as well playing off of newer talent as she does veterans Jane Lynch and Jon Cryer.
She also has great chemistry with Patrick Adams who plays Byron – her character’s brother’s best friend who she ends up using sexually (just as long as they promise to not fall in love!) and, of course, falling in love with. In fact, he’s probably the most likable of the cast, bringing an infallible male character to life. There’s really no challenge there – he’s dynamic and has a strong sense of humor and his Byron has basically zero real flaws. Being a bachelor and only pulling down $30,000 a year with a small web start up doesn’t exactly count as a flaw.
If it seems like I’m torn in talking about this one, I am. The acting, the dialog and the spirit of the movie are all fantastic elements, but it’s weighed down severely by being so absolutely by the book. Right down to the Staring Off Into the Distance Thinking Shots that come after the couple have their big fight. Writer/director Blayne Weaver’s sensibilities are just plain more mainstream than indie. Someone needs to hand him a bigger budget and a semi-popular television star to work with.
Although I will say that the refreshing factors that lift this film back up out of the Skip Pile have to do solely with the way they treat the main character. Her main flaw is that she has a misplaced value system when it comes to prestige over passion (both in her work and in her life). That, like everything else in the film, is pretty standard, but instead of having her life come to fruition when she falls in love, she really figures everything out when she learns a powerful lesson about her job. In that sense, the movie is somehow less of a romantic comedy and more of a straightforward comedy about a working woman that happens to have a love interest.
They also toy around with the concept of internet fame – specifically the magic of video sites. It’s played as a plot motivator instead of being utilized to the fullest comedic potential, but it’s still fun all the same.
It’s funny, sweet, and able to charm itself beyond the heavy sameness of every other romantic comedy that comes out in a given year. Although it still looks and feels like an indie film without some of the flair of an indie, Weather Girl is still an iota more genuine than the mainstream stuff out there. Or at least, its dialog is less glossy and doesn’t come with a side of cheese.
Above all, even if the movie didn’t blow my mind, I think that its cast has a lot of potential for the future. Tricia O’Kelley has a lot of appeal, able to play vulnerable and strong in the same breath.Patrick Adams is all charisma, and he pulls of slacker adorable better than most known actors. That they are supported by a solid comedic cast helps, but those two have the potential to play some great roles in the future.
Also, check out our Round of 20 Questions with Weather Girl and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star Kaitlin Olson, and check out the Weather Girl trailer:
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