A lightly amusing but thoroughly predictable dramedy that plays like a Lifetime made-for-cabler with an R-rated soundtrack.
Engaging lead performances and snatches of witty repartee help lubricate the creaky plot mechanics in “Weather Girl,” a lightly amusing but thoroughly predictable dramedy that plays like a Lifetime made-for-cabler with an R-rated soundtrack. Sitcom vet (and, perhaps more important, co-producer) Tricia O’Kelley makes a winning impression in the title role of what’s obviously intended as a star-vehicle showcase. Even so, it’s likely this indie pic will rely more heavily on the bigger names in the supporting cast — especially Mark Harmon of hit television series “NCIS” — to grab maximum attention in TV listings and vidstore displays.Opening scenes — as wildly improbable as they are undeniably hilarious — depict the oncamera meltdown of Sylvia Miller (O’Kelley), the “sassy weather girl” (as she’s repeatedly referenced) of a Seattle morning TV news show. Long romantically involved with Dale Waters (Mark Harmon), the show’s preening host, Sylvia more or less commits career suicide by publicly trashing Dale for his loutish infidelity (and unimpressive sexual prowess) while, off in the control room, members of the snickering production crew — evidently unmindful or uncaring of FCC regulations — allow her foul-mouthed tirade to be aired live. In the wake of this episode, not surprisingly, Sylvia finds herself unable to land a job at any other Seattle broadcast outlet. So she’s forced to move in with her slacker younger brother, acerbic Walt (Ryan Devlin), and take a waitressing job for a demanding restaurateur (a fleeting, funny cameo by Jane Lynch). Sylvia is all the more anxious about being unattached as well as underemployed because, as her best buddies (Alex Kapp Horner, Marin Hinkle) none-too-subtly remind her, she is 35 and counting. But her friends don’t stop there: They also suggest that although Dale behaved atrociously — he cheated on Sylvia with his conspicuously younger co-host (Kaitlin Olson) — he wasn’t entirely wrong when he accused Sylvia of maintaining a tight grip on her emotions. Partly to deflect such criticism, but largely to get herself through a dry and lonely stretch, Sylvia throws herself into a strictly sexual, no-strings-attached relationship with Byron (Patrick J. Adams), Walt’s friend and neighbor, a website designer who insists he’s “a great rebound guy.” Of course, they agree they’ll never fall in love, because, hey, he’s six years younger than she is, and they really have nothing in common, and she’s not looking for anything permanent, and … OK, so you know where this is going. Writer-director Blayne Weaver doesn’t cover any new ground, but he takes a few clever turns while heading toward the inevitable happy ending. Pic might have been even more effective if he had risked a bit more and pandered a tad less — he and O’Kelley seem reluctant to risk turning off the aud by focusing too long on Sylvia’s less attractive but more intriguing qualities. But O’Kelley and Adams develop an enjoyably edgy/romantic give-and-take, largely because they have some of the pic’s best dialogue. (“You’re sexy,” he says, “in a foreign film kind of way, with the angles and the attitude … “) And Harmon deftly remains one step short of caricature while playing Dale as more clueless than caddish. Other supporting players — including Jon Cryer as a fatuous blind date from hell, and an unbilled Blair Underwood as a TV station manager — are well-cast. Production values are unspectacular, but sufficient.