Morning Glory

Movie review by Neil Sadler

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, 50 Cent, Patti D’Arbanville, Alice Callahan

Director: Roger Michell

It’s unfortunate that the fictional TV station in MORNING GLORY (IBS) has the same name as a condition that gives you uncomfortable bloating and wind, unfortunate unless you are a film critic, of course, where it will make for lots of easy comparisons. But I am pleased to report that the bloating here is minor and the wind not that uncomfortable and generally followed by laughter.

MORNING GLORY tells the story of Becky. Fired from her producing job at a New Jersey morning show, she talks her way into an unsuccessful New York breakfast show and determines against the odds to make it a hit. With clashes of ego and bitchy rivalry, it comes as little surprise that this story is from the same writer as THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Like that great film this is the tale of a young girl entering a cutthroat industry finding her strength and love.

It would be wrong to spend too long comparing these films as they are different enough to take MORNING GLORY on it’s own merits, but unfortunately it is impossible not to look at the similarities.

Rachel MacAdams makes an engaging lead and a believable producer, the right mix of energy, creativity and ordered chaos, she is instantly likeable and acts as the emotional touchstone of the film.

Diane Keaton is the battle-axe anchor she must deal with but unlike PRADA, Keaton’s role is actually quite minor, as the real person Becky must pit her wits against is Harrison Ford as Mike Pomeroy. A hardened serious journalist, Becky blackmails him into co-anchoring on a format of show that is everything he hates about journalism, all celebrity gossip and cute old people! Ford, really looking his age, is the right mix of cantankerous, intelligent and charming. He is the true heart of the film in the way that Streep was in PRADA.

Like that film, the love interest, Patrick Wilson is a bit forgettable, but both he, Jeff Goldblum and John Pankow provide strong and classy support to what is a classy and funny film that doesn’t insult your intelligence. MORNING GLORY is often unpredictable, but even when it follows the rules it does so with confidence. Director Roger Mitchell is best known for NOTTING HILL but I found this film much more evenly paced and less bloated.

So MORNING GLORY makes an enjoyable confection, but unfortunately doesn’t have quite the gravitas that PRADA did. Ford is good and has great comic ability as we saw in WORKING GIRL, but he lacks the ability to completely consume himself in a character the way Meryl Streep has. You never quite forget that you are watching Harrison Ford. The characters and story are likeable and believable but like breakfast TV itself, you’ll have forgotten it by lunchtime.

4 out of 6 stars

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