The poster for this movie, see left, states that breakfast TV just got interesting, well that, at least, gets one thing right, Breakfast TV has never been interesting but as for it getting interesting in this movie? that doesn't happen either.
As I have said before, sometimes you have to go watch a film because your wife wants to go see it and this was one of those but, considering I liked the actors involved and I can sit through these sort of 'little person with a big dream' movies pretty easily and let it wash over me, I wasn't dreading it too much.
Written by the same writer behind The Devil Wears Prada, which was 'ok' and 27 Dresses, which was unlikable bilge, this is the same sort of cliche'd, obvious, undemanding, bland, repetitive, you saw it all in the trailer, throwaway tosh you've seen 100 times by someone who once owned 'The Idiot's Guide To Screenwriting' and, sadly, followed it to the letter.
Rachel McAdams, who is in every bloody scene, even when you don't want her to be, is the single, hard working but chirpy young woman who gets laid off from her producing job at a local New Jersey TV station because of those evil corporate suits and in one of many particularly uninspiring and limp montages, manages, finally, to get a meeting with another nonchalant, corporate bigwig played by a surprisingly serious, and therefor nowhere near as good or watchable as he should have been, Jeff Goldblum. On her way out of an interview, she thinks she didn't get because The Goldblum turned out to be a condescending bastard with, unusually for Jeff, no sly grim letting him off the hook, she bumps into both her future squeeze, the underused, under developed and pointlessly tedious Patrick Wilson and future nightmare, Harrison 'did I have a stroke?' Ford, in the elevator. Why yes, of course she does, how fortuitous.
She goes on to get a job trying to revitalise a fatuous morning show on fictional network IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome?) where the talent hate her, namely Diane Keaton's well played but thinly drawn diva presenter, and the staff don't expect her to last a week. She then goes on to hire Harrison Ford's irascible old "serious news" pro, which he over plays to the point of teeth grinding annoyance, after she fires the first male co-anchor who, out of nowhere, is orange, a huge egotist and an internet pervert.
So far so obvious, of course she's going to tame the old codger, get the ratings up to some magical number before they cancel the show, find the right balance between work and home and learn some ridiculous hogwash about how people are what matter and not the job she's wanted since she was a child and oodles of cash.
Ford's character gripes, grumbles and walks about being a smart arse looking like he constantly needs a poo or a heart attack, Keaton's character bitches or occasionally does embarrassing things like dance with a rapper or wear a sumo suit (get Woody on the phone Diane!!!), McAdams flaps her arms about, talks too fast, changes her hair, cries, takes off her clothes and runs through some pigeons in slow motion, Wilson is the underdeveloped and irrelevant 'bit-of-stuff' and Goldblum talks in such a monotone nasal drawl he may well of actually slept through his entire part waking only momentarily to get paid. The laughable and unbelievable thing is the whole film is stolen, from under the various blocked noses of these hollywood royalty, by a bald weatheman character and the farcical and very funny situations McAdams, as the producer, puts him in. Just as I was thinking 'I am not sure I can handle much more of this', the scenes of him being tortured in ever increasingly hilarious ways for the sake of ratings came on and I actually found myself laughing.
The direction is all Hollywood gloss and that's fine but it's an absolute sin the way it darts around various bits of New York with no effort made to hide the fact that it's both geographically incorrect and they are doing it to show off flashy locations. At least most films have the good decency to try and disguise their tourist book version of the city but in this film, for example, I did find myself asking 'sorry, why is this work meeting with boss Jeff Goldblum taking place on the steps of The Met with an unexplained red head when A) there's no reason for it and B) it's later divulged that he's actually sleeping with the dumb girl who presents useless segments on confused mysticism and uses words she doesn't understand on the show?' or 'why is she, again, discussing ratings with ol' Jeff, surely an office based practice too, comically trying to keep up with his jogging round the reservoir in Central Park?' Absolutely none of it makes any sense at all.
The whole sorry mess is an overly-long, by-the-books shambles with 15 endings you see coming from about 20 minutes in, some homespun, obvious philosophy passed off as wisdom, an entirely irrelevant and completely shortchanged romantic subplot, so many montages featuring wishy washy pop music that are so badly put together, you'd rather saw your own ears off and some thoroughly unrealistic nonsense farce jarring with moments of supposed serious emotional stuff. Also, it has no sophistication about it at all, it tries to, for example, in some of the insulting banter that goes back and forth between Ford and Keaton, attempting, I suppose, to conjure up the rapid fire comical jibes of a 1940s Hollywood comedy but then chooses to end, and believe me I am not spoiling anything at all, with McAdams and Ford walking into a, might as well be, cartoon sunset discussing a prostate check! Oh how hilarious, a prostate check gag! how original! They should have gone the whole hog, had a little circle wipe come down, single them out and have a cartoon pig lean out of the screen and stammer "That's all folks" followed by the Benny Hill music, as Patton Oswald would say "whackety schmackety dooo!"
It just never knows what it wants to be and can't decide when to end, which is funny because I can answer both those things, it wants to be The Devil Wears Prada in a TV Station and it should have ended before it began.
The screenwriter is to blame for all of it because most of the actors try, Goldblum aside, the director tries, throwing filters, camera glare, dutch angles and slow motion at it to try and make it interesting but ultimately with such a trite, obvious plot line, that has absolutely no idea where it's going for the first two thirds of the movie, there's not much you can do but wait for the whole sorry thing to be over.
In certain circumstances (see my Soul Men review) I don't mind a cliche'd Hollywood storyline, in fact most times I expect a certain amount of it but, for this screenwriter at least, all they've done is dusted off a former hit, changed the names and the setting and then presented it again. It's so very annoyingly lazy.
The plus points, and there aren't many, actually come in the form of two secondary characters, one the kindly jewish, second-in-command producer who is genuinely likable and two, the aforementioned, put upon weatherman and also, as always, the city of New York. Even if it is the postcard image of this diverse and varied city, as one astute and, no doubt, bored patron muttered behind me during one of the helicopter shots of Manhattan at dusk, 'wow New York is a beautiful looking city'.
That it is, it's just unfortunate it seems to have lately become the back drop to an endless run of uninspiring rom-coms, so terribly awful, that it gives us all a bad name.
3 out of 10 rotten fruit platters
Points from The Wife 4 out of 10