Movie Review: Morning Glory (2010)

Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams in Morning Glory
Photo: Paramount Pictures

It was quite obvious to me Morning Glory wasn't going to stink. The talent and subject matter alone was enough to figure that out. The big question was whether or not it would manage to become something more than just another story of a character striving to rise above the odds and succeed in a world where all indications say they will fail. And while Morning Glory never really hits that note where you're so caught up in the story and its characters that you aren't able to notice the film's faults, I was laughing quite a bit and found its exploration of today's media to be quite timely with something of a sitcom flair.

Morning Glory
Grade: B

Morning Glory"Morning Glory" is a Paramount Pictures release, directed by Roger Michell and is rated PG-13 for some sexual content including dialogue, language and brief drug references. The running time is .

The cast includes Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson, Ty Burrell and Adrian Martinez.

Rachel McAdams stars as Becky Fuller, a recently-fired morning television producer with her eyes on "The Today Show" but without the experience to attain such a goal. However, an opportunity has just arrived, the show-runner for the New York-based fictional morning show "Daybreak," best referred to as the last place national morning show. Given a short amount of time to turn the numbers around, Becky decides to shake things up sending their meteorologist (Matt Malloy) out to do the weather report while riding a roller-coaster, dressing up the show's longtime co-host Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) in a sumo suit and hiring the disagreeable, yet highly decorated TV anchor Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to bring a little bit of name recognition to the proceedings.

The underlying goal is to make sure "Daybreak" doesn't get canceled, but to tell this story Aline Brosh McKenna's script primarily focuses on the head-butting between Becky and Mike. In fact, it's easy to draw comparisons to McKenna's previous script for The Devil Wears Prada, just replace Anne Hathaway with the far more likable McAdams and the Meryl Streep character enjoys a gender switch, becoming the far grouchier Harrison Ford. In the end our lead must make a big decision, but this is just the candy coated cliche layer that sells the film. Fortunately there's a little bit of interesting meat to chew on as well.

As Mike Pomeroy, Ford embodies a character disgusted with the recent trends in news coverage. He holds himself to a higher standard and if it wasn't for the fact he would lose $6 million, he never would have agreed to be on the show in the first place. His character explores the idea of "What is news?" and "What is entertainment?" These are questions that can be asked of nearly any form of news media nowadays as celebrity break-ups seem to get just as much airtime/headlines, if not more, than the mid-term elections and "Jersey Shore" stars get multi-page spreads in the "New York Times". It seems news is getting closer and closer to the morals of the National Enquirer than the anchors Mike looks up to such as Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw. Mike may be grouchy and hard to work with, but I definitely feel his pain.

Ford's performance is well-tempered. He never takes it too far, often left to roll his eyes or at times foreshadow what's to come by effusively describing the steps to making the perfect Frittata. This, in fact, is the reason Morning Glory doesn't move the dial too far. It's terribly predictable and doesn't strive for much more than passing entertainment. In these terms it works very well, primarily thanks to a strong supporting cast.

Diane Keaton's role is surprisingly limited, but she is a well-established enough performer that she doesn't need a lot of screen time to make her presence felt. Jeff Goldblum is perfectly cast as a network executive and Patrick Wilson fits the role of a news magazine producer who's hot for Becky. Matt Malloy and John Pankow also deliver in solid supporting roles serving to hold the film together.

Of course, at the center of it all is Rachel McAdams who's able to tackle a character with a peppy, go-get-'em attitude and do so without also annoying the audience. She's accomplished, professional and is allowed to show a human side. These character traits work in tandem to keep Becky and the movie from falling apart. Morning Glory establishes a certain tone and has a bit of a bumpy transition into its third act, but McAdams and Ford in particular are able to right the boat and pull it into shore to the point a late dash through Rockefeller Center is earned rather than serving as tedious filler.

Best of all, Becky's a workaholic and while the downsides to being a hard worker are shown, she isn't vilified for taking an obsessed amount of pride in her work the way similar movie characters are typically painted as missing out on life if they work too hard. Other films like this would have focused on how destructive Becky's work schedule is to her life. Her life isn't destroyed and, instead, the film proves hard work pays off and can be very rewarding -- perhaps a message the PlayStation generation that keeps making me terrible lattes could learn from.

Oddly enough, like a good morning show, Morning Glory delivered the right amount of good times I needed at the end of a long day. It upped my mood even though I was able to notice it wasn't an altogether perfect film. Sometimes we need something a little refreshing to get us through the day and this film managed just that for me.


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  • Feedback

    I'm enthusiastic, I have really wanted to see this movie for a long time. The trailer just makes it seem like a "feel-good" film and this just proves it.

    On a side-note, reading your review, I can't help but notice how perfectly well-written your reviews are. Its astonishing how you can keep every review you write original and fairly entertaining and still get your point across so wonderfully. Since I started reading your reviews about a year ago, I have tended to not read anyone else's.

    I hope you become even BIGGER soon. You blow critics like Travers and Ebert out of the water.

    P.S. You should apply for a spot at MetaCritic. Its remarkable they have added The Onion to their lists and yet you aren't.

    • Brad Brevet

      Wow, thank you for the kind words! Always nice to hear, especially from someone that likes to keep me on my toes. Thanks!

    • Amir Syarif Siregar

      Gotta second this! I'm a huge fan of every movie reviews on Rope of Silicon... especially Mr. Brevet's.

  • Ben

    I saw this movie about a week ago, and am I crazy, or was McAdams really, really good? I mean, I know it wasn't a very dynamic or difficult role, but she definitely managed to standout from the other gazillion female light comedy/romcom stars

  • penny

    Brad, why are you constantly bad- mouthing Anne Hathaway ? Obviously, you personally do not like her. Anne is not starring in this movie. For the record, Anne and Rachel McAdams are both very likable .

  • cuteview

    Rachel McAdams for Catwoman on Batman 3!

  • Winchester

    I'm glad the review was positive. I had felt a bit of studio unease around it.

    Glad to see I may have been wrong because I'm a fan of McAdams and I really would like to see her break through a little bit more.

    Brad, do you think this could be a solid enough hit to give McAdams the boost that Prada gave Hathaway?

    • Brad Brevet

      That's an interesting question and hard to answer, although people seem far more interested in propping up Hathaway than McAdams and I'm not sure why.

      • Feedback

        I really like Rachel, but Rachel was so bad in Sherlock Holmes, I just can't forget that awful performance. I don't think Anne has ever been that bad... and Rachel has never been as good as Anne in Rachel Getting Married and Brokeback Mountain. I don't think that means Anne is better than Rachel, but just think Rachel hasn't gotten that serious "career-making" role.

      • Winchester

        @Brad - there does seem to be a solid defence around Hathaway, but since one of her films I've not yet seen is Rachel Getting Married (and by what I recall the Oscar nomination was considered deserved I remember that much) I can go only by the performances I have seen of her's.

        I find her ok and do like her, but the last few years her film choices haven't been necessarily the best. Bride Wars was atrocious.

        I think that right now if you asked me to choose between two films I knew literally nothing about, except one starred McAdams and one Hathaway - I would pick the film with McAdams in it.

        That kind of little question always tells me who I prefer. I want to see McAdams, I don't feel as strongly for Hathaway.

  • penny

    Brad, I celebrate both these talented women. Their is no need to "prop" someone more than the other- especially when both are gifted. For example, I enjoy both Al Pacino's & Robert DeNiro's classic performances . I will not put one over the other because they are different character actors ( and supremely gifted) . There is enough room for a Hathaway, MacAdams, Natalie Portman, Carey Mulligan, and an Emily Blunt. They are different talents with different flavors.

    Brad, please stop being a fortune teller, you don't know whether Anne Hathaway will not win another Oscar nomination ( you wrote this in your previous post) .

    P.S. I know you can't stand Anne. So, I expect you to blast her performance in "Love And Other Drugs" . Even though she is getting good reviews. I've seen it. Trust me, it is her best performance since "Rachel Getting Married".

    • Kevin Blumeyer

      She's been in about 3 movies since "Rachel Getting Married." Just saying.

      • m1

        And she was the saving grace in all of them. Just saying.

      • Kevin Blumeyer

        I was just making the point that calling something "her best performance since Rachel Getting Married" isn't saying a whole lot given what she's done since then.

      • Feedback

        I don't think she was the saving grace at all in those movies giving that the three movies sucked and were not saved by any grace at all. Alice in Wonderland was awful and if anyone one a scene-stealer, it was Helena Bonham Carter's wonderful turn as the Red Queen. Bride Wars was just an awful movie and even if you consider Anne's performance to be the best, it isn't saying much given that every aspect of the movie is horrible. And Valentine's Day, well, although not awful, it was pretty bad in its own right. I think I enjoyed Emma Roberts, Bradley Cooper and Topher Grace a little, but everyone else was just "bleh".

  • markeels

    If I ever want to watch the movie again, Harrison Ford would be the only reason. He single-handedly saved the movie from two dimensional to 2.1 dimensional and his is the .1

  • randy

    I'm also agreeing with the first comment , Brad you have changed the way i look at films and how i critique movies. Ive been reading RoS since i was 16 ( 4 years ago) and i believe you have been just getting better each time and have also shown me a plethora of new films that i wouldnt have watched without this site.

    aside from boasting Brads much deserved ego(heh) with regards to the Anne Hathaway and Rachel McAdams situation. I see these two actresses on two totally different levels in their careers. Anne has already achieved an Oscar nomination and potentially another one if Love and Other Drugs does well. Rachel is enjoying her film career and doesnt seem to be getting into a bunch of movies a year as much as she can. I dont think she is trying to be too serious about the whole Oscar bit.

  • Winchester opening day of $1 million dollars?

    Opening on a Wednesday proved worth it.