Morning Glory is by no means the disappointment it’s credentials line it up to be. You have to say, the outlook is grim: Harrison Ford as a grumpy journalist Mike Pomeroy, fallen from giddy heights of critical acclaim – surely fiction and reality are going to echo each other with that casting? And it’s not like our blushes are going to be saved by Rachel McAdams are they? Surely Morning Glory is going to perpetuate her position in life as a ‘cute girl who gets the guy’. How can the next 107 minutes be anything other than a waste of our lives and money?
We find relief in the first 10 minutes as we realise that this film is genuinely funny. Becky Fuller (McAdams) is an ineffably cute hard-working go-getter of a TV producer for a relatively successful morning show. Her job owns her. Her love life knows no environment beyond the second date, but that won’t keep her down. She’s all about the American dream – your work ethic will get you anywhere.
Calamity ensues, when Becky discovers that rather than being promoted within her TV studio, she’s in fact to be fired to make way for a more qualified TV exec type. Undeterred, Becky throws herself into the hideous world of job applications, calling around, throwing her CV at anything that moves. She’s finally offered an interview by IBC controller Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum), a world-weary city type with an enormously pleasurable dry wit. Barnes throws Becky an opportunity to prove herself; the job of executive producer of what’s perceived to be the worst network breakfast show in the land. The ratings suck. The co-anchor Paul McVee (Ty Burrell of Modern Family – a show that EVERYONE needs in their life) is a sinister, granny loving creep, whilst his opposite Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) is an aged-beauty queen of terrifying diva proportions. McAdams has worked hard enough by this point to ensure we’re smitten with her, as thus we do actually want to see her succeed.
It’s safe to say the rest of the drama plays out with the same predictable nature as any other romantic comedy anyone has ever created, anywhere, ever. Prince Charming (Patrick Wilson playing the hunk-a-hunk of burning love that is Adam Bennett) walks into the right lift, Mike Pomeroy (Ford) is hired to find in an effort to boost the ratings, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s an utter handful. Will Becky save the day and get those all important ratings, and get the guy? Cue highs, lows, tiffs, tantrums, comedy, and a nice warm fuzzy feeling.
Morning Glory is saved from being forgettable by several heroes. Director Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill, Enduring Love) keeps things light and refreshing throughout, and works some brilliant performances from all corners of his cast. Other than some painfully hammy slow-motion montages, the film doesn’t work hard to win you over, but relies on the effortless charm of it’s stars McAdams and Ford. McAdams is all eyes and teeth, but her cute peppy vibes allow you to warm to her, rather than resulting in a nasty rash of jealousy. Harrison Ford is actually funny. He knows exactly what he’s doing, and rather than feeling like a money grab, you can believe that he actually wanted this role. It has to be said that the writing isn’t all that (you never feel that sorry for Becky – she’s stunning, she constantly succeeds despite what the course of the narrative wants you to believe, and she’s never in that much trouble), but you get what you came for; some genuinely funny jokes and a story that goes where you want it to.
The current offerings of the cinema world provide you with several rom-com options this week. There’s The Dilemma, How Do You Know and then Morning Glory. If you want to feel like someone out there has actually worked on a film, carefully crafted it, and added just the right amount of charm and humour to brighten your mood, go and see the latter option. It’s worth it just to fall in love with Rachel McAdams. Did I mention she’s cute?