Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton
Directed by: Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”)
Written by: Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”)
If “Morning Glory” were an actual segment on a news program it would be the equivalent of the fluff piece that comes somewhere during the show when the anchor replays a YouTube video of a parakeet whistling old TV show theme songs. It pointless, harmless, and sometimes even a little funny, but is also usually always forgettable.
What saves “Morning Glory” from becoming totally unmemorable after leaving the theater are the charming performances it features from most of the cast. It starts with Rachel McAdams (“The Notebook”) who plays Becky Fuller, a New Jersey morning show senior producer who is dealt a heavy blow when she is let go from her position after some restructuring.
Her unemployment, however, doesn’t last long when a struggling news station in New York City calls upon her lead their understaffed and underfunded morning show back into contention. It’s no “Today Show,” but Becky accepts the job and commits to it. Although most people don’t think she’ll last, including longtime co-anchor Colleen Peck (an underutilized Diane Keaton), there’s no denying her tenacity.
When Becky is left with an empty co-anchor seat, she seeks out veteran newsman Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to bring in some journalistic integrity onto the set. But when Mike’s arrogance begins to get in the way of the show (he refuses to cover news stories he feel are beneath him and uses words like “aggregated” on air), Becky must try to find a way to make everyone happy before their show gets cancelled in favor of game show reruns.
Directed by Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”), “Morning Glory” doesn’t try to be something it’s not. While there are hints the film will examine how the media industry is evolving in this new century, this isn’t’ a film like “All the President’s Men” or even last year’s underappreciated “State of Play” (another media-based movie McAdams stars in).
Instead, “Morning Glory” is a peppy movie that follows the same blueprint as a film like “The Devil Wears Prada,” both of which are written by screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna who, like in “Prada,” trips up the flow of the narrative with an cliché love story that benefits no one.
What “Morning Glory” needed to do was stay within the confines of the newsroom and make those relationships feel more authentic. It would have been nice to see more of a give and take between Harrison and Keaton, who butt heads whenever they share the spotlight. It would have been nice to know a little more about Becky aside from her failed attempts at dating and gluttony for work.
But McKenna and Michell take the easy way to the finish line. While the cast manages to stay likeable (even Ford’s unlikeable anchorman is fascinating in a pompous, Meryl Streep in “Devil Wears Prada” sort of way), the script comes together sporadically and without paying much attention to the multi-dimensional value of any of its characters. It all adds up to lighthearted entertainment that isn’t as newsworthy as it should have been.