Movie #10: Morning Glory

What could be better than a romantic comedy from the director (Roger Michell) of my favourite rom-com (Notting Hill), with Rachel McAdams (one of my favourite actresses today), featuring Diane Keaton (who, with Woody Allen, pioneered the rom-com in Annie Hall)? Well, the irony is that Morning Glory isn’t a romantic comedy. Sure, McAdams meets cute with dreamy Patrick Wilson in the lobby and they begin a romantic relationship that develops throughout the movie, but that’s really not the focus of the film. If any relationship is at the heart, it’s the working one between Becky Fuller, the young, energetic executive producer (played by McAdams) newly-hired to run a last-place network morning show, and Mike Pomeroy, the curmudgeonly former news anchor hired to work out his contract by co-hosting the show (played with leathery stiffness by Harrison Ford). Along with the two of them, the show team contains a bunch of slightly-eccentric characters, which add a bit of workplace comedy to the film. For the most part, the focus is on Becky, who seems like a pretty impressive individual. I can see why McAdams was a good choice to play her as someone who’s smart, full of energy and bright ideas, able to keep the entire team motivated but also going toe-to-toe with heavyweights like Pomeroy and divas like Keaton’s character Colleen Peck. Her character seemed to be part of a new archetype: the capable young woman who can do the job better than most men (men who are often portrayed as being “part of the problem”) and still struggles with her personal life (often because she hasn’t been able to meet “Mr. Right”). She reminds me a lot of Bridget Jones (but less prone to messing things up). While I enjoyed McAdams in this movie (between you and me, I always enjoy her performances), I found Ford to be a little lazy in the old-guy-too-successful-to-care role. It seems like it’s just Harrison Ford with another name. When he and McAdams shared scenes, it felt like he himself was telling her, “Look, I’ve paid my dues Miss Rising Star, just let me phone this in.” Keaton, on the other hand, was quite enjoyable and I liked the way she always delivered scenes with a knowing wink to the audience reminding us that she’s having fun in the part. I especially liked the scenes where she and Ford’s character took sarcastic jabs at each other (at one point even on air). I wish there had been a bit more of that dynamic in the movie. Morning Glory was fun, but the subject matter and themes seemed a bit old hat, and with such a pedigree both behind and in front of the camera, I expected a bit more. (3.5 out of 5)

10 down, 40 to go!

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