by Tim Ross
There are millions of Americans who wake up to a kooky weather forecaster, celebrity interviews and “hard news” stories about a beauty pageant queen with an eating disorder or the latest politician sex scandal.
Shows such as “Good Morning America” and “Today” start off our days with sugar coated news. So how can a feel-good-underdog-prevails story about a perky morning TV show producer fail? Well, “Morning Glory,” starring the always cute Rachel McAdams doesn’t exactly fail but it certainly tries.
This is a movie about a network morning show that plays like a network morning show. “Morning Glory” is segmented and fragmented, sometimes farce, sometimes romantic comedy, sometimes biting satire and sometimes an offbeat buddy movie between hotshot TV producer Becky Fuller (McAdams) and grumpy star anchor Mike Pomeroy, played with slightly more than one note by Harrison Ford.
In fact, most of the characters are one-dimensional but don’t blame actors McAdams, Ford, Diane Keaton (as the female side of the anchor team) and Jeff Goldblum as the moody boss. They just don’t have the time to develop characters in a story that changes its mind so often.
“Morning Glory” starts out as a near farce when career-consumed television Producer Becky Fuller gets canned from her New Jersey morning show job as flippantly as she gets canned by potential suitors for paying more attention to her Blackberry than to them. Becky is suddenly a dervish without anywhere to whirl. She begins a frantic search for a new job to become obsessed with but that search is punctuated by comic camera effects, over the top reactions and a completely unnecessary scene with her mother where Becky is informed that, at the ripe old age of 28, she is an embarrassment to the family for losing one job in television and daring to apply for better ones.
Out of the blue, that better job comes in the form of a chance to take over a failing morning show at a national network called IBS. Becky becomes the new boss at “Morning Glory,” but the venerable show isn’t the only thing failing. Paint is peeling, there is a dinge everywhere, doorknobs don’t work and neither does some of the staff, which is overwhelmingly jaded, bitter and abusive.
This brings us to the biting satire portion of the film. Network news staffs are populated by brilliant, troubled personalities, all of whom spend the bulk of their time and energy on their jobs and not at home or with their kids. They are in a constant state of stress, chase ratings and work feverishly to be the first show to score interviews with the most vacuous celebrities in the business.
Becky injects new life into the show but it continues to fail until she lures, or more accurately, contractually forces famous newsman Mike Pomeroy (Ford) to join the team. She also meets hunky, unflappable Paul (Patrick Wilson), Pomeroy’s former producer who is never seen doing a moment’s work but is always around. Now it’s time for the romantic comedy as Becky and Paul have a whirlwind romance that ends nearly as fast as it began but promises to re-ignite just as quickly.
Like a morning television show, “Morning Glory” is almost all flash and very little substance. There is one nice moment with Ford and McAdams and a very funny montage in the middle of the film, but it’s largely a series of mildly enjoyable vignettes. It’s less of a laugh out loud movie than it is a smile out loud story with, spoiler alert, a happy ending.
Don’t go in expecting to be moved but you will have some fun. With days getting shorter and nights getting cooler, I suppose a perky little movie with perky Rachel McAdams isn’t all bad. Of course, there isn’t a whole lot of good either.
Grade: 2/4 Stars