Weather Girl -- Film Review

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A spirited cast headed by the engaging Tricia O'Kelley lends effervescence to "Weather Girl," a brightly written but generically directed (both by Blayne Weaver) low-budget romantic comedy that cries out for a less-conventional approach.

Screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival -- it premiered earlier this year at Slamdance -- the independently released film opens July 10 on a single Los Angeles screen, followed by a handful of additional cities ahead of a Lifetime airing, undoubtedly with its R-rated language somewhat toned down.

O'Kelley, a regular on CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine," conveys a genial blend of Sarah Jessica Parker and Heather Graham as Sylvia, the "sassy weather girl," on a Seattle morning show. She has an on-air meltdown after discovering that her boyfriend, Dale (a perfectly pompous Mark Harmon), is having an affair with his fellow co-anchor.

Although her colorful tirade turns her into an Internet sensation, she's forced to move in with her slacker little brother (Ryan Devlin). In the process, she catches the eye of his best buddy (Patrick J. Adams).

She's initially too traumatized by the twin horrors of the unemployment and dating scenes to take notice, but ultimately, Sylvia chooses the path of least generic rom-com resistance.

If "Weather Girl" were to furnish its own forecast, it would be something along the lines of "Warm and breezy before becoming overcast and muggy late in the day."

Although Weaver's characters and dialogue strike an agreeably dry comedic tone, his direction adheres too safely to a generic template, losing momentum as it goes along.

But he draws uniformly energetic performances from his cast, which also features several more familiar faces, including the always-swell Jane Lynch as Sylvia's no-nonsense new boss and Jon Cryer as a wince-inducing blind date-from-hell.

Across the board, production values make the most of the film's very modest budget.

Opens: Friday, July 10 (Secret Identity Prods.)