Directed by Roger Michell. Starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, John Pankow. (2010, PG-13, 102 min.)
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Nov. 12, 2010
Remember Albert Brooks' flop sweat in Broadcast News? James L. Brooks' 1987 film is a useful reference point here; certainly Morning Glory, another peek behind the curtain of network news, aims for a similar mix of comedy and romance and working-woman woes. But again: Remember the flop sweat? There's no equivalent here. Yes, morning-show producer Becky (McAdams) is a little bit hunchy and bedraggled, but, to use a word the film itself does on more than one occasion, adorably so. Hired to turn around the disastrous ratings of a national morning show, Becky in turn hires a seasoned newsman, Mike Pomeroy (Ford), to co-anchor the program with sugar (on-camera) and spice (off-) Colleen Peck (Keaton). Mike is hell-bent on sabotaging what he rightfully considers to be a gig way, way beneath him, and the bulk of Morning Glory is spent tracking Becky's uphill battle to convince Mike to play nice for the camera. "Play nice" may very well be the mantra of Michell (Notting Hill), a director of excessive sentimentality and empty stylishness. Morning Glory had the capacity to be a smarter, tarter picture, though it's not bad as is: well-acted and ingratiating, with at least one howlingly funny sequence. (Aline Brosh McKenna's script feels a light rewrite shy of final draft.) But if there were any doubts as to where the filmmakers' priorities lie, they're answered in a late scene. Becky, a professional woman supervising a staff numbering in the dozens, interviews for her dream job swathed in a diaphanous, date-night beige shift and dainty cardigan. She is absurdly misdressed for the occasion, to the point of distraction. Patience. All is revealed in the very next scene, in which Becky races on foot across Manhattan. Michell's camera swoops, the soundtrack swells, and that pretty little dress flaps artfully. Sensible suits, you see, don't waft in the wind.