This Week at the Movies: “Morning Glory”



Morning Glory has a good script. Very funny in parts. Good acting overall. Lovely chemis­try between the actors. It hits so many right notes, but the notes don’t work in conjunction. And the guitar solo that you hoped would go on forever, or the vocal solo you hoped would go on forever, just stops prematurely and abruptly, and leads into a series of crowd-pleasing clichés. The movie stimulates constantly but not once does it manage to satiate.

Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is fired from her job as exec­utive producer at Good Morning New Jersey. Fuller has centered her life on her career, and so she is thrown into a panicked twist. She sends out a flurry of resumes, and receives a call from IBS, a major news network, which airs a morning show called DayBreak (one of the worst morning shows in the U.S.). Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) is unimpressed by her resume, but is swayed by her willingness to devote her entire life to her work. Fuller starts the job with a bang, by firing one of the co-hosts, Paul McVee (Ty Burrell), for being too conceited and blasé. Meanwhile, Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford), who has been one of the world’s lead­ing investigative journalists in the last three decades and has just been fired from a major news network, is on a contract with IBS as an adviser. Fuller finds a clause in his contract that says he has to accept a position at IBS if offered one. Fuller blackmails Pomeroy into co-hosting the show with Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton). Peck is more than happy to kiss frogs and cook random dishes on DayBreak, while Pomeroy despises anything that is not hard news. DayBreak‘s ratings fall even further, and Fuller is given an ultimatum. Fuller starts to try unconventional tactics. She pushes it up a “notch farther” by, for example, making Ernie (Hamilton’s very own Matt Malloy!) report on the latest rollercoaster in Six Flags, while he is actually on it. She encourages Pomeroy and Peck to have subtle onscreen spats. The ratings slowly start creeping up. Meanwhile, Fuller starts to date Adam (Patrick Wilson), another producer at IBS, and finds that she knows nothing about intimacy. The rest of the movie chronicles the personal and work issues that each of these characters have. And if you haven’t guessed already, it ends in a happy sunny place (literally).

Morning Glory has traces of The Network (1976) in it. But where that movie went out on a limb and faced all the issues that it brought up, Morning Glory kind of fizzles out into standard Hollywood fare. The movie does make for believable Hollywood fare, sure, but I certainly expected something more from a movie with such great stars. The characters are not exactly one-dimensional, but it’s almost like they are all trying to be. And this can be quite painful to watch. Diane Keaton is so spectacularly relegated from all the main punches that this movie throws, that I was kind of offended.

Anyway, McAdams, Ford and Malloy are pure acting de­lights in this movie. The actors work off of each other beau­tifully, and create some sparkling chemistry. There are some beautiful shots spliced throughout. And the humor hits the mark more often than not, which is always a good thing.

Watch Morning Glory. Watch it with a grain of salt.

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