REVIEW: Morning Glory

11 11 2010

Morning Glory” centers around the fictional morning talk show Daybreak, which is in fourth place in the ratings behind The Today Show, Good Morning America, and “whatever CBS has in the morning.”  In the realm of movies centered around talk shows, this Rachel McAdams vehicle falls among the ranks of Good Morning America in that spectrum.  It has heart and makes for some undeniable fun, but the familiarity of the story and premise make it difficult for the movie to have the resounding emotional impact it so greatly desires.

It’s less a story about the newsroom as it is about the woman running it, Becky Fuller (McAdams), a career girl who is so focused on her job that she bumbles through every other aspect of her life.  It’s just as easy to be inspired by her drive to return Daybreak to glory as it is to be off-put by McAdams’ phoned-in performance.  She is so overly kinetic and frantic that it feels awkward.  I’m a huge fan of her work, so I was surprised to find myself reacting so aversely to her charms.

Without McAdams in full force, the rest of the movie has to pick up the slack, and, for the most part, it does.  What the script lacks in originality it makes up for in humor, through both great lines and on-air moments that recall some of the most YouTube-worthy news anchors of our time (I’m talking to you, Grape Lady).  The diva aspect is totally nailed as well, particularly shining through Diane Keaton’s prima donna anchor Colleen Peck.  We rarely get to see the aging actress anymore, and she spins every line into gold.

It’s particularly great to see her quarreling with Harrison Ford’s Mike Pomeroy, an aging Dan Rather-type anchor with no time for anything but what he deems “serious” news.  Ford plays him as a sort of gruff Walt Kowalski from “Gran Torino” with the intimidating deep voice and booming temper, which sometimes borders on excessive.  Yet Ford is far from bad, still managing to find ways to make his interpretation work.  He delivers the emotional climax of the movie, which the script bungles, and saves it from being a total disaster, quite a feat in itself.

There’s a lot to enjoy about “Morning Glory,” and while that doesn’t include great thematic depth, this isn’t the kind of movie that requires it to be successful.  It’s a great ball of fun, warm and fluffy, that will hold up very well on repeat Sunday afternoon viewings on TBS.  And as far as unoriginal movies go, this is about as good as they get.  B


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17 11 2010
Castor

Good review Marshall. I don’t understand why some critics are focusing so much on the lack of thematic depth. This is obviously just a fluffy lightweight comedy that is perfectly entertaining as is. It’s too bad it didn’t all that well at the box office, this continues the trend of strong-willed female lead movies under-performing financially, resulting in more Jennifer Aniston/Katherine Heigl-type of rom-coms instead…

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