Morning Glory a fun diversion

The ads for Morning Glory read like a cynical studio decision: “Let’s get those old people everyone likes…uh, Ford and Keaton, and we’ll combine them with this young new girl everyone also likes…Anne Hatheway Rachel McAdams.  We’ll make millions!”  And you know what, despite such cynicism, it’s a great casting combo.

McAdams plays Becky Fuller, a sparky television producer whose laptop and cell phone are her only sustenance.  When she gets the opportunity to work at a network morning news show, it is up to her to make it successful despite conflicting personalities and a studio with constantly malfunctioning door knobs.

What should draw people to Morning Glory is not the story, but what the cast does with the material.  McAdams’ charisma is infectious, as she displays Fuller’s propensity for rambling and her love-of-the-job with abandon.  You can’t help but like her despite the fact that she’s playing the usual mold for female characters – loveable kid in this instance, or contentious bitch in Keaton’s case.  Though Keaton gets underused as Arizona beauty queen turned news co-host, Colleen Peck, her scathing wit makes her an equal to Harrison Ford’s grizzled journalist, Mike Pomeroy.  Though Ford could have done better than growl his way through the whole picture, he has a presence that makes you respect him, which is exactly the nature of Pomeroy.

In a more effective way than 30 Rock‘s weekly installments, Morning Glory provokes an appreciation for the grueling work required to produce television, and the tools required to balance such work with a real life.  Unfortunately the film doesn’t push this theme far enough.  Fuller is introduced during a lunch date with a possible suitor, but bungles the meeting due to her inability to silence phone calls.  This theme crops up throughout the film, yet is quickly shunted to resolution in a hasty denouement.

Which follows the main issue with the film, the last quarter:  Characters suddenly become other people to suit narrative necessities, and the film resolves according to the romantic-comedy gestures of implausibility we’ve come to loathe.  MINOR SPOILER ALERT, SKIP It is insulting to imagine that Pomeroy would betray his standards at the last second in the hope that Fuller would be near a television while she interviews for the job of a lifetime. MINOR SPOILER OVER Not to mention, the tension between trying to bring real news (Pomeroy’s argument) into a venue that vaunts itself for being morning entertainment never goes beyond an interesting, but ill-expanded conversation between Fuller and Pomeroy.  Considering the current climate in television news broadcasting, it could have been used to build a compelling story.  Tsk, tsk.

Yes, Morning Glory almost becomes another film in the last quarter and it doesn’t exhaust the great resources available, but with compelling characters and comedic sensibility that isn’t tired (Little Fockers anyone?), it’s hard to leave the cinema without an affection for the picture.

One response to “Morning Glory a fun diversion

  1. There is also this hilarious rundown of the film from the imdb message board:

    “The chick-flick screenwriter strikes again:

    OMG, a chick who cares about her career! Lets write her as some obsessive workaholic who really needs to be nailed good and hard.

    OMG, a chick who really enjoys her job! Lets make sure the older wiser fella tells her that it’s all bs and what really counts is family and loved ones. Imagine an older female character ever telling a younger male character that in the end, his job is meaningless.

    OMG, a capable intelligent articulate woman. Lets make sure that somehow when it’s time for her to talk to some smug douchebag who insults her and calls her a nut, she becomes clumsy and weird and thoroughly incompetent.

    Oh and lets make absolutely sure to hit the viewers on the head with the fact that this chick TOTALLY BLOWS ALL HER FIRST DATES….ACK!!!

    This girl is CRAAAAAZY!

    We get it, Aline Brosh McKenna aka writer of sickeningly misogynist movies. You, as a professional full-time working woman in Hollywood which has a very busy and driven place, believe that OTHER women really need to get their priorities straight and make sure that they find a guy who’ll nail em nice and good and they don’t worry too much about their jobs.

    Basically this entire movie was a rerun of a Cathy cartoon. Ugh.”

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