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MORNING GLORY

When hard-working TV producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is fired from a local news program, her career begins to look as bleak as her hapless love life. Stumbling into a job at "Daybreak" (the low-rating national morning news show), Becky decides to revitalize the show by bringing on legendary TV anchor Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford). Unfortunately, Pomeroy refuses to cover morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, fashion and crafts – let alone work with his new co-host, Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), a former beauty queen and longtime morning show personality. As Mike and Colleen clash, first behind the scenes and then on the air, Becky's blossoming love affair with fellow producer, Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson) begins to unravel and soon Becky is struggling to save her relationship, her reputation, her job and ultimately, the show itself.

Review by Louise Keller:
The premise has potential and the cast is terrific, yet there’s little glory in this heavy handed formulaic comedy set in the television industry that worships rating, conflict and all things crass. Notting Hill director Roger Michell forgets to ground his movie in reality and by overdoing everything and allowing his cast to overact, the humour is lost. Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, who penned The Devil Wears Prada has good credentials too, but somehow her characters are not only less than credible, but they are unlikeable. What might have been a delightful and humorous escape is predictable tedium with limited appeal.

When we meet Rachel McAdams’ Becky Fuller, we quickly realise she lives and breathes her job as a morning television program producer. For all her energy, conscientiousness and commitment, Becky is irritating. She fiddles non-stop with her hair, talks fast and far too much and has no idea about having a relationship. (Patrick Wilson does the best he can in a thankless role as her love interest.) Diane Keaton plays a flake of a TV presenter who behaves like a Prima Dona but is lacking in the smarts that allow us to believe she would have the job, while Harrison Ford is the perpetual grouch who believes the world owes him a living as a serious news reporter. No-one is shown to advantage.

The anticipation is the best part of the film and inevitably we are let down. But there are a few funny ideas like making the weatherman weather rollercoaster rides and go skydiving, while Keaton’s Colleen blows bagpipes and kisses frogs – all in search of better ratings. And Keaton and Ford’s off and on-air sniping at each other have their moments, even though it is predictable. The sad truth of the matter is that low-brow, cheap sensationalism does attract better ratings than content of higher quality, but the film would have more appeal if it were grounded in reality and offered a better platform for this talented, but wasted cast.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It’s irresistible to note that when Harrison Ford’s legendary news anchor Mike Pomeroy agrees to slum it at the lowest rating morning show, Daybreak, he admits it’s for the money. Well, Ford slumming it in Morning Glory, and it can only be for the money, because there is nothing in his character that’s a stretch or that seems interesting for the old warrior. Indeed, for most of the film he is almost unwatchable as the ham from central casting, ‘acting’ the embittered and grumpy old man of TV news anchorage.

At least he’s not as irritating as is Rachel McAdams as Becky, intentionally ridiculous and given a dreadful hairdo with bangs all over her face so that in the final act she can smarten up and get a new hairdo befitting her new and bright future. It’s all like that, a bit too obvious. Diane Keaton summons up all the brittle bits of her persona to play Colleen, the show’s anchor almost elbowed aside by the legendary Mike Pomeroy.

When the film’s central characters are all unappealing, where does the audience empathy go?

I always enjoy Jeff Goldblum’s work, here in a small but entertaining role as Jerry, the station boss who underestimates Becky. Patrick Wilson also stands as a beacon of decent acting amidst the clutter as Adam the young man who, by contrast to Jerry, takes a shine to Becky; he has to be good to make us believe this, given Becky’s personality and behaviour.

The general overacting is matched by plastic storytelling and the few moments of truth are buried in the rush to convince us this is a) funny and b) really meaningful, when it’s neither. There are a few giggles, but the screenplay isn’t sure if it wants to make fun of television or the characters, and in the end it stalls on its own creative paralysis. The movie could have avoided being quite so obvious, manipulative, predictable and irritating – but it didn’t.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

MORNING GLORY (M)
(US, 2010)

CAST: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum

PRODUCER: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk

DIRECTOR: Roger Michell

SCRIPT: Aline Brosh McKenna

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alwin H. Kuchler

EDITOR: Daniel Farrell, Nick Moore, Steven Weisberg

MUSIC: David Arnold

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Friedberg

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 6, 2011







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