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Full disclosure: I admit to being taken with Rachel McAdams’ adorableness.  In films like Red Eye {2005}, State of Play {2009} and The Time Traveler’s Wife {2009} she demonstrates a sweetness and winning charm that makes her likeable even as the meanest of Mean Girls {2004} and made The Notebook{2004} one of the most adored romances of recent years.  It is then utterly dumbfounding that a film like Morning Glory that should have been tailored to McAdams’ perkiness and charisma could go so terribly wrong and truss McAdams in the most irritating role I’ve seen her play.

Morning Glory’s send-up of the world of morning television and what contortions those behind the scenes will go through in order to save a show from the clutches of cancellation has all the right ingredients:  Directed by Roger Michell who previously helmed the smash rom-com Notting Hill {1999}, there’s McAdams as Becky, a hard-working -- i.e. obsessed -- young producer taking over a network early show on the chopping block, Diane Keaton as the show’s vain, long-suffering host and Harrison Ford as the disgruntled, cantankerous hard news man whose unwilling participation as the programme’s new co-host will either hurry the show to its end or save it.  This great ensemble is padded out with Jeff Goldblum as the dubious station manager and Patrick Wilson as a new love for Becky.  How then could it go wrong? I’ll tell ya how.

Michell took the charming McAdams and directed her to play her role as if on speed.  There is literally not one moment where Becky isn’t bouncing around like a five year old in need of either Ritalin or the bathroom, or spazzing out as if she’d bumped her head falling off the turnip truck.  She comes from morning television in New Jersey not Podunk.  Watching her freak out when she finds herself in an elevator with Ford’s Mike Pomeroy, one of her journalistic idols is cringe-worthy for many reasons; first because you wish Pomeroy had a taser to fend off Becky’s scary enthusiasm, second because there’s no way that any professional television producer, much less one just shy of thirty would be caught dead embarrassing herself this way and next because we can see from that early scene the level of inanity we’re going to be faced with for the rest of the film.  Bless her; McAdams throws herself heart and soul into this irritating, hollow character, shining in those rare moments where we see Becky actually has a brain and by rare I mean perhaps two scenes.  But Michell makes such a broad, slapsticky cake of Becky that there’s no way anyone can identify with her because she’s an utter caricature with no depth.

There are some genuinely funny moments in Morning Glory, which would be any time either Harrison Ford or Diane Keaton is on screen.  Ford as the fallen serious journalist is snarling, egomaniacal and cranky like the love child of Dick Cheney and Sam Donaldson. His snipes and verbal daggers at the relentlessly hyperactive Becky speak for the entire audience.  Diane Keaton plays a former beauty queen who would do any and everything to stay on television.  As Colleen Peck, the perfectly-coiffed psychic spawn of Diane Sawyer and Mary Hart, Keaton gives herself over to the screenplay; appearing in a Sumo wrestler’s fat suit in one segment and throwing up hand signs with 50 Cent’s crew during his musical cameo.  Keaton looks to be having a good time, especially when teamed with Ford during their co-hosting segments.  Their increasingly vitriolic and public on-air spats temporarily resuscitate the film.  The combination of Ford and Keaton is all sparks and I would have been perfectly happy had the entire film been based around these two warhorses from opposite ends of the news spectrum.  However, there is another grace to Morning Glory that could have saved the entire movie had it been allowed full rein.  Morning Glory’s best segments run in the montage of Becky‘s improvements to the show, mostly featuring Matt Malloy as the gentle, good-natured weatherman in a number of increasingly death-defying activities.  Malloy nearly steals the entire picture and I demand a spinoff. 

Still, regardless of the brilliance of Ford, Keaton or even Malloy, there’s nothing much that can be done for Morning Glory because it’s completely based around a character that is utterly out of tone with the rest of the film and sinks the overall project by annoying its audience out of any possible affection for the character.  What a shame.


~ The Lady Miz Diva

Nov. 10th, 2010



Click here for our coverage of the Morning Glory Press Conference with Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Patrick Wilson



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(Courtesy of  Paramount Pictures)


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