April 26th, 2009

BROADCAST NEWS (1987) ***

Broadcast News tells the story of three diverse people caught in the midst of not only a love triangle but also a career triangle as well.  William Hurt stars as the dopey yet charismatic new anchorman at a Washington television network who charms his plucky producer, played by Holly Hunter.  Albert Brooks is the field reporter who is too ugly to put behind a news desk and is desperately in love with Hunter.  Holly on the other hand, likes Albert but only as a friend, so she makes goo-goo eyes at Hurt a lot.  In the end though, she’s more committed to her job than to either one of them.

 

Writer/director James L. Brooks sidesteps a lot of the usual romantic comedy clichés which is quite refreshing.  Brooks also resists the temptation for a pat happy ending and that keeps things a bit more realistic.  Also, all three of the lead actors create fully three dimensional characters; further adding to the movie’s charm.  At 133 minutes, it’s probably a good half hour longer than it really needed to be, but since the chemistry between Brooks, Hurt, and Hunter is so engaging, it doesn’t hamper the flick too much.

 

The best thing about the movie is Jack Nicholson’s extended cameo as the star network anchorman.  Jack must’ve done this as a favor to Brooks (he also starred in the director’s Terms of Endearment) and his sporadic appearances add a lot of zest to the film.  It definitely would’ve been awesome if Brooks made a spin-off all about Jack, but oh well.  

 

Brooks went on to produce The Simpsons two years later.