“Morning Glory” is just as bright and perky as it sounds. A fairly standard romantic comedy, it comes darn close to hitting all of the right notes while still managing to fall short on emotional investment and a believable love story. Despite this, “Glory” is an enjoyable romantic comedy with a pleasing cast and a satisfying (though predictable) plot.
The story follows a talented young producer named Becky Fuller, played by the ever-bubbly Rachel McAdams (“Sherlock Holmes”), as she attempts to revive a failing morning talk show called “Daybreak.” Her efforts lead to some amusing tension with the cheery female anchor, an ex-Miss Arizona played by Diane Keaton (“Mad Money”); outright frustration with the newly hired and incredibly surly news legend played by Harrison Ford (“Extraordinary Measures”); and – of course, as per the genre – a blooming romance with the “smokin” producer upstairs, played by the charming (if a bit bland) Patrick Wilson (“Insidious”).
As is wont with these kinds of films, complications arise, loyalties are tested and though originality is lacking, the enjoyable characters and vapid entertainment will leave most audiences fairly pleased.
While rather predictable and formulaic, the plot remains satisfying. The story concentrates more on Fuller’s determination to succeed in her restoration of the morning show than her rather unbelievable and uninteresting relationship with Wilson’s character, which seems to serve as more of an excuse for some sexual tension than anything actually plot-worthy, as they have little to no chemistry onscreen. This greater focus on “Daybreak” serves the movie well, as it allows the entire cast to shine rather than just the two young leads.
The cast is without a doubt the most enjoyable part of this movie. McAdams makes a strong appearance as the leading lady, managing to portray a frazzled workaholic while still exuding optimism and a ridiculous amount of spunk. It may not be an Oscar-worthy performance, but McAdams has consistently been a pleasure to watch on the big screen, and she does not disappoint here.
Her emotions are for the most part believable, and the character of Becky Fuller is relatable as a 20-something trying to follow her dreams in a complicated world. If anything, McAdams may play the character a tad too plucky, but because of the actress’s natural charm and the lightness of this flick, it actually works.
Despite McAdams’ perkiness, it is Ford’s portrayal of the arrogant and obstinate news legend Mike Pomeroy that steals the show. At 68 years old, Ford still manages to retain that boyish quality he had all the way back in “Star Wars,” even while portraying an irritable old has-been. His interactions with McAdams – ranging from sarcastic repartee to surprising heart-to-hearts – are quite good, but it is the relationship of barely-there tolerance with Keaton that really stands out and creates some of the funniest moments in the movie. This tension could have been amped up a bit more (preferably in place of the dull romance between McAdams and Wilson), but what gets included is still highly entertaining.
The rest of the cast is just as enjoyable, from the always-neurotic Jeff Goldblum (“The Switch”) as Fuller’s boss to one creepily perverted anchorman, played by the wonderfully awkward and far underused Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”). These characters – along with some others, like the ditsy word-inventing Lisa (J. Elaine Marcos, “Royal Pains”) – are part of the reason “Morning Glory” is more comedy than romance.
With multiple clever one-liners, a running gag or two and some absolutely priceless reaction shots (especially from the excellent Mr. Ford), “Morning Glory” will have audiences laughing more often than they might expect. For example, one of the most enjoyable things about the scenes taking place in the “Daybreak” studio is the random cameos by morning show guests, like the doughnut-eating troupe of gladiators and the band of men dressed as the Blue Man Group.
As far as romantic comedies go, “Morning Glory” is pretty run-of-the-mill. It has the formula down and understands how to make its audience feel nice and “fluffy” (a word Ford’s character amusingly refuses to say on air), but it lacks any real oomph or emotional connection. Even so, fans of lighthearted, feel-good flicks will not be disappointed by Roger Michell’s (“Venus”) latest, and if you are looking for a satisfying girl’s-night movie, “Morning Glory” would be a pretty worthy choice.
2.5 out 5 stars