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‘Morning Glory’ Movie Review

Rachel McAdams Morning Glory photo

Rachel McAdams in ‘Morning Glory.’

© Paramount Pictures 

 New Moviem

November 2010’s opening with two potentially big comedies in a row with central characters so unbelievably annoying it’s difficult to care enough about them to want to spend a couple of hours watching their antics onscreen. Due Date had a great cast, but suffered from unappealing lead characters. Now Morning Glory is following that Todd Phillips film into theaters one week later with equally off-putting main characters.

Written by Aline Brosh McKenna, the screenwriter of the super successful and critically acclaimed The Devil Wears Prada, Morning Glory is a predictable, sometimes pleasurable though most often subpar, comedy set in the world of morning news/entertainment shows. It’s sort of like Prada in that the up-and-comer takes on the veterans of the industry, winning over her co-worker and/or boss from hell as she pumps new energy into the business. But while Prada‘s Anne Hathaway was a terrific blend of optimism with shades of perkiness and worried wanna journalist striving to get ahead in a difficult industry to get a toehold in, Rachel McAdams isn’t given as wide of a character arc to play. McAdams, as TV producer Becky Fuller, has basically two personality settings: uber-high and caffeine-overload high. There’s barely a scene in Morning Glory that doesn’t have poor McAdams, whose generally excellent in everything she takes on, flying off at the mouth and acting like a 13 year old schoolgirl somehow transported into an adult’s body. Becky Fuller has my vote for the 2010 film character I’d most like to see placed on some heavy medication.

The Story

It’s hyperactive, bubbly, out-of-her league TV producer Becky Fuller versus veteran newsman/resting on his laurels while collecting a paycheck for doing next to nothing Mike Pomeroy (played by Harrison Ford), and unless you’ve never seen a comedy movie before, you know how this battle of wills is going to end.

Diane Keaton Morning Glory photo

Diane Keaton in ‘Morning Glory.’

© Paramount Pictures

Becky somehow impresses TV exec Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) enough to be given a shot at producing a failing morning show that trails all its competition and is in need of a serious makeover. The first day on the job, Becky fires the show’s smarmy co-host (Ty Burrell of Modern Family), kicking off her reign as the show’s producer by making a move supported by the entire Daybreak team. Even the show’s difficult to please co-host, Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), gives her a thumbs up for throwing out the jerk. However, firing the co-host with a foot fetish leaves Becky’s show minus one of its main ingredients. Fortunately, Becky figures out that Mike Pomeroy is on the network’s payroll and has to take a position on her show or else risk breaking his cushy multi-million contract. Forced into making the move to morning TV, serious award-winning newsman Pomeroy decides the best way to handle the demotion is to be as aggressively ugly to Becky and the Daybreak crew as possible. He won’t do light, fluff pieces (he even refuses to say the word ‘fluffy’) and holds the entire morning show business in disdain.

So now Becky’s got a co-host who’s basically sabotaging the show and her boss, Jerry Barnes, says the ratings have fallen to such a low level that the only solution is to cancel the long-running news program and replace it with game shows. But Becky’s a fighter and won’t give up. Her only shot at saving Daybreak is to torture the weatherman on camera, send Colleen out to do outlandish stunts (sumo wrestling in a fat suit, dancing in a tutu with tiny ballerinas, etc), and try to find a way to break through Mike’s shell and get him to play nice and be part of the Daybreak team. Oh, and all the while she’s also dealing with an on-again / off-again relationship with another producer from the network (played by Patrick Wilson).  

The Acting and the Bottom Line

Unlike the show’s fictional morning show, Morning Glory never finds the winning formula and screenwriter McKenna and director Roger Michell never find their footing. Making McAdams’ character a little less uncomfortable to watch would have certainly helped. And there’s also the problem of Ford as Pomeroy not actually being convincing as an award-winning journalist. If any newscaster ever read serious headlines and reported on important issues in the manner Ford does as Pomeroy, he’d be laughed off TV. Pomeroy doesn’t want to do news for the sake of entertaining the masses, but that doesn’t explain why Michell has Ford glower and growl out his lines when he’s on the air.

Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford Morning Glory photo

Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford in ‘Morning Glory.’

© Paramount Pictures

The best part of Morning Glory is Keaton as an anchor who’s seen co-hosts and producers come and go throughout the years and has continued to do what she was hired to do. Patrick Wilson’s wasted as McAdams’ love interest in a side story that doesn’t connect and only slows the film down, and none of the supporting players – including Jeff Goldblum – have much to contribute.

There are a few funny moments in Morning Glory, and there’s of course a lesson to be learned by all the players by the time the end credits roll, but overall there’s nothing glorious about this comedy.


November 14, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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