Theatrical Review: MORNING GLORY
Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna
Director: Roger Michell
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum
Studio: Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot
I’ve always been a fan of backstage movies. I love watching the intricacies of planning and producing a show, and all the juicy drama it brings, amped up for the big screen. My brief high school foray into technical theater established this sub-genre pleasure, my college film theory classes put a name to it, and my addiction to The Today Show always left me hoping that someone would make a follow-up to NETWORK set on a morning news talk show.
From the moment I saw the MORNING GLORY trailer I knew it was tailor made for me. It’s just a shame that the whole movie couldn’t live up to what I had hoped. Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is hired as the Executive Producer for the IBS (yes, seriously) network’s fourth place morning news show, Daybreak. After a few weeks on the job, she is informed that if the numbers don’t increase in six weeks the show will go dark. While veteran co-host Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) is completely on board with doing anything it takes to make the show work, Becky can get nothing more than charmless cue-card readings from hard newsman Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford). Becky battles her talent, her network, and herself just to make her dream job work for her, and she is entrancing when she shows off her producing skills.
However, Becky’s over-the-top awkwardness is almost too distracting at times. It’s hard to believe that a woman who has fought so hard to get an Executive Producing credit would be so bipolar in her personality. After only living in Manhattan for a few weeks, she begins dating Adam (Patrick Wilson), a man who supports her and accepts her job’s unconventional hours, and then out of the blue decides he just doesn’t understand her. The conflict is real, but for this couple it didn’t make any sense. Romantic comedies are supposed to have coupling strife, but MORNING GLORY began on a more sophisticated plane, so in the scenes where conflict is forced, and not just with the main couple, the movie suffers.
McAdams does her best to make an unbelievably bumbly character likeable, but even she seems almost visibly frustrated with Becky’s development. Scenes where Becky pushes Mike to see his own potential showcase the movie’s delicate straddling of sweet and moving. However, there are just as many moments where Becky transforms into a crazed, sleep deprived, rambling mess who cannot connect with real people. On one hand, she can keep herself together professionally when everything around her is about to come crashing down, but when faced with her own personal issues she obnoxiously flails.
But even with all the character problems, MORNING GLORY is actually a quite enjoyable movie to watch. Becky’s determination to achieve her goals and dreams is inspiring, and the curt banter between Colleen and Mike is too sparse. But most of all, taking a look at the inner workings of TV production is invigorating and surprisingly accurately represented. It’s just unfortunate the characters couldn’t get as much attention in the writing room.
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