Published Nov 11, 2010As an unspoken rule of thumb, referring to a movie as "mediocre" or "serviceable" is a politely veiled way of calling it dog shit. It's how I would describe The Proposal, The Town or Slumdog Millionaire. But in the case of Morning Glory, I actually mean that the film is, in fact, mediocre and serviceable, insomuch as it's consistently engaging, even charming and funny, at times, despite being little more than stale and slightly patronizing crap.
It takes a slightly more strained and cartoonish approach to its Broadcast News template, treading familiar "working girl" territory with the alacritous, spunky, eager Becky (Rachel McAdams) trying her damnedest to succeed as a television news producer. She manages to land a gig on a struggling morning news program, only to surprise everyone by firing the male anchor and exploiting a contract loophole to bring grumbling, surly reporting legend Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to work alongside the flaky Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton).
Because Becky is an underdog and Pomeroy is a reluctant dick, this storyline essentially writes itself, much like our plucky protagonist's awkward flirtation with hotshot pretty boy producer Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson). What works is McAdams' steadfast investment in her character's competent, yet idiosyncratic and clumsy, disposition. She manages to balance professional presentation with quiet insecurity while subtly manoeuvring her body language in a comic, off-centre manner that reinforces her self-conscious ambition. It adds some much needed vitality to the more tedious plot machinations.
There are even a few jokes along the way that inspire laughs, such as an argument about morning promos, with a disgruntled Pomeroy mocking the upbeat irrelevance of morning news, stating, "watch us before you take your morning dump."
Conversely, Keaton and Ford are under the impression that they're in a children's movie like Air Dog or Space Chimps, overemphasizing their broad archetypes with pill-popping whimsy and monosyllabic grunts, respectively. Arguably, the film is a heightened presentation of a fantastical reality, but there are ways to balance this adjacent universe with actual human behaviour, as seen in everyone else on screen.
While distracting, these hammy paycheque performances don't necessarily surprise or even deter from a mostly pleasant snack bar confection of a film. It's all perfectly mediocre and serviceable enough to entertain anyone attracted to this sort of material. (Paramount)