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Harrison Ford Returns To Comedy, Just In Time To Be Crotchety

This Friday's Morning Glory marks the return of Harrison Ford to real comedy, for the first time since Hollywood Homicide in 2003 -- and, before that, Six Days Seven Nights in 1998.

At some point, Ford took the hard turn toward action-suspense stuff -- not the lighthearted action of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and, of course, the Star Wars movies, but the gloomy action of movies like Air Force One and The Devil's Own. He'd always done a variety of genres, going back to sandwiching Blade Runner between Raiders and Return Of The Jedi.

But watching the Morning Glory trailer, I was struck by how much I've missed Ford in comedies. In particular, he never really went back to quite the note he struck in 1988's Working Girl, which is a sort of a hybrid between a breezy business caper and one of the best romantic comedies of the 1980s. Look how he kills it -- absolutely kills it -- in this scene with Melanie Griffith.

Look, I love Witness. I love Raiders and I love Han Solo, and I'm okay with Presumed Innocent (except for his hair). I even think the Sabrina remake he was in had some nice moments. (Particularly when the great, great Dana Ivey, playing Ford's secretary, says, "We were up to our elbows in your underwear drawer; it was like touching the Shroud of Turin," a movie line I quote regularly.)

But it seems like such a waste that he left all this on the table. Maybe he'd rather shoot guns than be a charming, roguish wisecracker; that's his business. But he's waited so long to get back into comedy that now he's being cast as the fogey, giving advice to young Rachel McAdams from the perspective of a used-up old grump.

I don't think I'm ready for Hollywood to embrace Harrison Ford's dotage. I don't think I'm ready for his late-stage DeNiro Meet The Fockers incarnation. Wasn't he just Melanie Griffith's charming Jack, sending her off to work with that adorable little lunchbox? Okay, it was 22 years ago, but how isn't there more warm comedy between now and then? Why did he forsake those of us who fell in love with him as teenage girls to go shoot people and blow things up? Why didn't he tell Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own to drop that hilarious accent?

So many questions, Harrison Ford. Just so many questions.

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Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.
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