Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldbum, 50 cent, Patrick Wilson
Aline Brosh McKenna
Once in awhile, it happens.
As a film critic, it's almost inevitable that there will be times when I come across films for which I have a strange affection yet I fully realize that the vast majority of my readers will find it dreadful. Then, there are those films where I find myself sort of shrugging my shoulders mouthing "What's the big deal?" while also realizing that despite my own ambivalence it is a film that many among my readership will appreciate.
Morning Glory elicited not much more than a shoulder shrug from me, a few smiles and an appreciation for the performance of Rachel McAdams that is far more energized and inspired than the film actually deserves. While I found the film only modestly entertaining, my gut is telling me that you, my average reader, will actually appreciate this film.
I should explain.
My average reader, according to my stats software, is a single female between the ages of 25-34 who is minimally college educated and frequently graduate school educated. In other words, you generally appreciate a different type of humor, have an appreciation for creatve use of language and, yes, can read between the lines and appreciate the use of inventive body language and nonverbal communication.
You, then, may very well find yourself appreciating the light, breezy humor of Morning Glory that floats by almost exclusively on the winning personality of McAdams as Becky Fuller, a young television producer hired on by Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) to helm a last place morning show generally regarded as a sinking ship. She ropes a hardcore newsman, Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford), into finishing out his network contract by co-hosting alongside the perkily amiable Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton).
Yes, there is a bit of romance as Becky falls for a fellow producer (Patrick Wilson), but Morning Glory isn't really a romantic comedy as much as it's a comedy about people who love their jobs and whose very beings are defined by them.
McAdams has long been an underrated actress, and while Morning Glory isn't likely to change her status it does offer clear proof that McAdams is an actress to be reckoned with and is worthy of a greater diversity of roles. McAdams carries this film, no small task working alongside Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton along with a generally solid supporting cast. She's energetic, inspired, a tad flirtatious and so completely driven to succeed at her job that she even starts to win over the very non-morning show oriented Pomeroy (but not in that disgustingly Woody Allen type of way where the 20-something hottie falls for the 50-year-old shmuck).
While it's no surprise that Diane Keaton is rather fetching here, Harrison Ford manages to break out of his usual somber tone and turn in a surprisingly warm and winning performance with nearly spot-on mannerisms perfectly complementing those of Keaton onscreen. While Ford has never been an actor with considerable range, he manages to use his cinematic gifts well here and turns in one of his more pleasing performances in recent years.
Matt Malloy shines in support as a weatherman put through the ringer by Becky, while both Goldblum and Patrick Wilson shine in secondary roles.
Virtually everything about Morning Glory is light and breezy, but that fits Aline Brosh McKenna's script quite nicely and director Roger Michell seems content to allow the entire thing to unfold casually. While Morning Glory never stretches for the insights of, say, a Broadcast News, what it does it does well and it's quite doubtful that you'll regret having spent nearly two hours with these enjoyable, entertaining characters.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic