Directed by: Roger Michell
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum
Rated: PG-13 for some sexual content including dialogue, language and brief drug references.
It’s often said that there’s nothing new under the sun, and it’s especially true of Hollywood. Sometimes, though, a film comes along that presents the familiar stories in such an engaging way that it’s easy to forgive it for lacking originality. “Morning Glory” is just such a film: it’s a perky blend of young-career-woman and underdogs-win-the-day, and while there’s no real doubt about how it’s going to end, it’s easy to enjoy getting there.
Becky (Rachel McAdams) is an ambitious, young morning news producer. When she loses her job on “Good Morning New Jersey” she manages — barely — to get hired as the producer of “Daybreak,” a floundering morning news show. Everything at the show works badly, from the doorknobs in the studio to the thoroughly creepy male co-host. Becky fires the creep, which wins over the staff, and sets about improving their ratings. She manages to get renowned anchor Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to be the new co-host, but he and the female co-host, Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), can’t stand each other and he uses his contractually-promised power of story approval to avoid doing anything he doesn’t consider “real news” — which is almost every story the show covers. Along the way, Becky meets dreamboat Adam (Patrick Wilson), but has trouble balancing work and romance.
Yes, we can tell how things are going to end up almost immediately every time a new plot element is introduced, but you don’t go see a movie like “Morning Glory” for the intellectual plot twists. This is a feel-good comedy with plenty of familiar tropes, and it delivers on all the important fronts. The dialog is sharp and quick, the actors all seem to be having a good time, and it moves at a good clip.
The film centers on Becky, and McAdams makes her both awkward and engaging. She’s easy to care about because she takes the sometimes cheesy enthusiasm we all have for something and turns it up to eleven. Becky is so passionate about her job that she sometimes comes across as a little nuts, and McAdams makes it both believable and engaging. Characters keep asking Becky if she’s about to burst into song after one of her heartfelt speeches, and McAdams almost makes one wish she would.
Of the rest of the cast, the two who really stand out are Ford and Keaton, whose characters are both aging divas, just in very different directions. They dislike each other immediately but still have to work together, and the two actors have the perfect chemistry and timing to make their sniping at each other hilarious rather than annoying.
If you’re looking for something new and challenging, skip “Morning Glory.” This is a familiar tale given a fresh coat of lacquer, not something fresh and unique. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a good pound cake. You know exactly what it’s going to be like, and sometimes, that’s exactly what you’re looking for.