Morning Glory: An Old-Fashioned Movie-Movie

November 21, 2010

Romantic comedies (known in Hollywood as “rom-coms”) are a vanishing breed nowadays and good rom-coms are as rare as blue moons. That’s why Morning Glory is such a welcome and absolutely charming throwback to The Old Hollywood days when rom-coms were a mini-industry unto themselves.

If Morning Glory were a racehorse, its pedigree would be considered worthy of a champion. The film comes by its charm rightfully as it is directed by Roger Michell who previously directed Notting Hill,  another truly wonderful rom com, and is written by Aline Brosh McKenna whose most recent credits include the savagely funny The Devil Wears Prada and the charming 27 Dresses. It also stars icons Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, and features delightful young Rachel McAdams who absolutely holds her own with her more experienced costars.

Morning Glory is set in the world of morning network television where ratings hang each day on grabbing the celebrity du jour before your competition while providing the most entertaining and outrageous, if not informative, broadcast. “News” , as loosely defined as a Hawaiian muumuu,  definitely takes a backseat, a very remote and distant backseat, to cooking tips, tabloid gossip, and pet adoptions. In other words, it’s no place for Walter Cronkite.

Ah, but there lies the challenge as nightly news icon Mike Pomeroy (Ford) is lured into the morning show wars by young, aggressive executive producer Becky Fuller (McAdams) who is hired on a whim as a last desperate attempt to stave off cancellation for a woebegone morning show called “Daybreak”. Becky puts Pomeroy opposite veteran morning anchor Colleen Peck (Keaton) and the resulting chemistry is so combustible that the staff would be safer coming to work dressed in asbestos each morning. Pomeroy is obviously slumming, Peck is resentful of his smarmy and snotty attitude, and Fuller feels like her one shot at a network job is going to implode at any moment.

How this all works out is fairly predictable but rom-coms often derive their pleasure not from surprise but from the fun of the journey. (2009’s delightful The Proposal is a recent example.) Morning Glory is so much fun because the writing is smart and witty, the direction is sure-handed and loving, and the actors are all pitch-perfect in their roles, particularly Ford who is obviously enjoying lampooning every self-important newsman we’ve ever seen. (Ted Baxter, eat your heart out.)

Morning Glory is a completely entertaining, witty, and lighthearted movie that will make you smile and brighten your day. Go see it and have some fun. You deserve it.

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