This movie got panned by critics when it was first released, and I really don’t understand why. Sure, Morning Glory is not going to win any awards, but it is fun enough, and Rachel McAdams actually has pretty good chemistry with her older co-stars, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton.
McAdams plays Becky, a breakfast television producer looking for her big break on the way to eventually working her dream job at the Today Show. She gets the challenge of reviving a struggling morning TV show called Daybreak. Becky revamps things straight away, firing an ass co-host (Ty Burrell) on her first day and replacing him with respected journalist Mike Pomeroy (Ford). Due to a contract loophole, which Becky exploits, Pomeroy is forced into working on her show, which he considers to be the lowest form of television. He longs for his days reporting real news, rather than having to interact with bubbly, former beauty queen co-host Colleen Peck (Keaton). Becky soon learns that there is a time limit for when she needs to get the ratings for Daybreak back up, and she is running out of it. She has to motivate her new hosts to work together, despite the fact they can’t stand each other.
I actually had quite a good time watching this film. Rachel McAdams is cute and Harrison Ford is becoming very good at playing a grumpy old man. There is fun to be had here. From Ford’s outrageously colourful sock choices, to the antics of the network weatherman, Morning Glory is entertaining enough to be watchable. Seeing McAdams slowly break Ford’s character down and their interactions with each other are the highlights of the film. Their chemistry makes this film work. Without it, Morning Glory would be instantly forgettable, but these two actors elevate it above your standard B-grade rom-com.
The only part I didn’t really care for was the whole side plot about Becky finding a man. It detracted from the relationship I cared about between her and Mike Pomeroy. I was far more invested in that relationship; I didn’t need to see Becky find love. It is a small problem, but anything that detracts from Ford and McAdams relationship does not add much to the film.
Morning Glory is a cute romantic comedy that does have its moments. I do wish it had focused more on the comedy than the tacked on romance subplot, though.
Morning Glory is one of those movies that I was surprised Ben owned. I was only vaguely aware of it, even with Harrison Ford prominently featured in the advertising. Despite going through a period of time when he purchased almost every DVD released, Ben’s collection is pretty sparse on early 2000’s chick flicks. But after watching this with him several times I totally get why he likes it. It’s not a perfect a comedy, but it is a lot of fun.
I initially wrote off Morning Glory as just another rom-com, a genre I’m only now just being able to stomach again after an ill-advised Netflix binge of the genre during a long period of unemployment. While the movie does include many romantic comedy tropes, these are mostly relegated to subplot. The real relationship is between Becky, a young breakfast TV producer played by Rachel McAdams, and Mike Pomeroy, the cantankerous veteran newscaster she enlists to boost her show’s dwindling ratings. Mentioning that Pomeroy is played by Harrison Ford is hardly necessary; the role was clearly written for him. McAdams easily holds her own against Ford, a feat few young actors can achieve.
In fact, this movie’s entire cast is its saving grace. Diane Keaton also costars, playing a seasoned morning show hostess who is game to try anything if it means saving her show. It’s amazing that this is Keaton and Ford’s first time sharing the screen. The two trade barbs with relish, I hope they get the chance to work together again. Other standouts are Ty Burrell, playing against type as a jerk, and Jeff Goldblum, who makes the most of his small role as a pessimistic network executive. I also enjoyed Patrick Wilson as McAdam’s love interest, though his role feels like an afterthought included to add some rom to the com.
The actual story to Morning Glory isn’t new, but it is fun to watch. As I said before, this isn’t really a romantic comedy. That angle is poorly developed, and I wouldn’t miss it if it were removed completely. There seems to be some notion that the film is trying to say something about morning television or the media, but the what is never quite realized.
I often lament that fact that Hollywood seems to have run out of new ideas. At the same time, I enjoy Morning Glory, a movie I admit is derivative. But this is clearly a “comfort movie,” in the way that macaroni and cheese is a comfort food. Sometimes you actually want the familiar.