You might be forgiven for thinking Morning Glory, in which co-stars Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford play vain and bickering TV show hosts, was a standard rom-com about two cranky geriatrics who eventually fall in love.
Writer Aline Brosh McKenna’s smart, funny and endearing screenplay is all about showcasing its adorable young star.
Rachel McAdams plays Becky, an enthusiastic television producer who accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts. While the camera loves the sunny exuberance of its gorgeous leading lady, filming her in warm light and flattering angles and dressing her in pricey Louboutin shoes and flowing silk outfits, it also presents her as a mildly neurotic workaholic who’s unfailingly passionate about her floundering career. Somehow all this irrepressible enthusiasm doesn’t come off as annoyingly perky; we’re always rooting for her, even though people keep asking her if she’s about to burst into song.
Take the scene of her first day on the new job. During the intense show meeting, she’s overwhelmed by a barrage of questions. Does she have what it takes? Her steely, decisive approach proves that she does, and this is one of the film’s many gratifying “yeah!” moments.
Later, the story evolves to include the required romance with a hunky, fellow producer (Patrick Wilson). But it’s the development of her relationship with seemingly intractable host Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) that gives this movie a surprising depth and complexity. Ford seems to be phoning it in, playing yet another curmudgeon – in this instance, a renowned investigative journalist who has virtually been put out to pasture and who feels reading the morning news is well and truly beneath his dignity. (It is.) Yet, when he warms to Becky, culminating in a touching scene they share, it reminds you that a lot of what Ford does only appears like he’s not trying.
Keaton is wasted in her sidelined role, given an insufficiently convincing arc and change of heart, but she’s always great to watch. Jeff Goldblum’s small role is played to perfection.
Review by Pauline Adamek