D: Roger Michell. DP: Alwin H. Kuhler. W: Aline Borsh McKenna. Starring: Rachel McAdams/Harrison Ford/Diane Keaton/Patrick Wilson/Jeff Goldblum/Ty Burrell/John Pankow/J. Elaine Marcos/Matt Malloy.
You may think Morning Glory is a romantic comedy, its previews certainly persuade you to believe that. But in actuality, the film uses that sales pitch to pull audiences in and deliver a comedy that’s more about career perseverance and faith than romance.
Delightfully fumbling and real, Rachel McAdams hops right into the shoes of Becky Fuller, a morning news producer whose work is life. A fate most people in demanding careers can surely identify with. McAdams’ Becky quickly gets the can when the network wants to hire someone else who has more degrees, experience and is ahem, male. Like most people in this economic crisis, McAdams is out pounding pavement to get to her big dream. She’s soon hired by Daybreak, a struggling morning news show that is frightful need of her drive and commitment.
Once at Daybreak, McAdams keeps her rhythm and allows humor to find its way into her body rather than just in her language. Diane Keaton as her main news woman is a bit wasted here as she complains more than she conjectures or contributes. And of course the real breakthrough is Ford who plays begrudged, lonely and cantankerous Mike Pommeroy, a man whose so hard up for his hard news that only a legal loop hole can force him to join the Daybreak team. But what’s great about Ford is not only his stature, gravitas and grace, but the many shades of a man he allows Pommeroy to be. Thankfully the main couple in the film turns out to be Ford and McAdams, proving that a platonic relationship can be the focus of a film working within romantic comedy drama conventions.
As the reason Morning Glory works as well as it does is its use of the romantic comedy concept to make a film about a working relationship. McAdam’s romantic life, driven by fellow producer Patrick Wilson, is maintained in the background of the film’s plot just as it is in Becky’s life. The lack of a clear sex scene, keeps the focus of the film on her work life and her ultimate challenge of making the show a success. A success that will allow audiences to merely sit back and enjoy McAdams’ journey while rooting for her.
Lastly, unfortunately, the constructs of the film somehow get laded with the bad filmic decisions that detract from Aline Borsh McKenna’s (2006’s The Devil Wears Prada and 2008’s 27 Dresses) decent script. Slow runs, flying birds, one too many pop songs, just brings the tone of the film down a peg from where it could potentially be. It is quite possible Morning Glory will get lost in the shuffle of fall award contenders and bigger films, but I’m sure it will make it into someone’s home quite soon.