Bright and fluffy
Rachel McAdams is splendidly goofy as a morning TV show producer who must contend with Harrison Ford’s supreme grouchiness in the likeable fluffy poof that is Morning Glory. Yeah, I called it fluffy poof. Wanna make something of it?
McAdams plays Becky, producer of a Jersey morning show, who is let go due to budget cutbacks and must find herself a new gig. That gig comes in the form of a show called Daybreak. After a scary interview with boss man Jerry Barnes (a delightfully acerbic Jeff Goldblum), she is assigned the unenviable task of getting the low-rated show out of the basement before network execs pull the plug.
That’s not going to be easy. The co-hosts consist of prissy malcontent Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) and walking human resources nightmare Paul McVee (Ty Burrell, making the most of his few moments). After one too many sexist comments at the staff meetings, Paul is let go, and Becky is tasked with finding his replacement.
After investigating his contract, Becky discovers that former giant anchorman Mike Pomeroy (Ford) would have to do her show if she asked him or forfeit the remaining millions in his TV deal. Mike begrudgingly shows up for work, and madness ensues.
Ford and Keaton have great onscreen anti-chemistry—meaning they do an awesome job of being extremely uncomfortable next to each other. The shtick where they try to be the last one to say something before their broadcast ends is stolen from Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate in Anchorman, but I don’t think there will be any lawsuits pending.
Much applause for McAdams in her standoffs with Ford in pissy mode. She holds her own with curmudgeonly Indy, the two generating a lot of laughs as Becky tries to get Mike to go with the swing of things.
Ford hasn’t been this funny, or good, for that matter, in years. I dug him in the last Indiana Jones movie—one of the four people in the world who did—but that doesn’t really count because it was a reprise. With the exception of Indy, I haven’t really liked him in anything since he tried to drown Michelle Pfeiffer in What Lies Beneath. He was one nasty bastard in that one, and his turn in Morning Glory is further proof that he is good at being bad.
Nice to see Ford can still do something when given worthwhile material. His Mike Pomeroy is a heavy drinker, and Ford does drunkenness well. He doesn’t overplay the physicality of being drunk, and his character becomes extra sarcastic and mega nasty when soused. It’s remarkably memorable work from a guy who has been far from memorable this last decade. And the future looks good for Ford with his upcoming appearance in Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens.
Right now, McAdams’ work here stands as one of the better female lead performances of the year. She takes all of her moments and runs with them, exhibiting just the sort of behavioral traits one might expect of somebody who doesn’t sleep much and has her career riding on the shoulders of a has-been lush.
The movie, unfortunately, drives off the road and into a ditch whenever it focuses on Becky’s romantic involvement with news producer Adam Bennett, played by Patrick Wilson. I like Wilson, and he isn’t actually bad in this movie, but the stuff involving his character merely acts as a distraction from the real fun. They should’ve just called his character Handsome Wet Blanket.
Ultimately, Morning Glory stands as a nice comeback for McAdams (who stunk in Sherlock Holmes), Diane Keaton (who has stunk in everything since her teaming with McAdams in The Family Stone) and Ford (his past stinking discussed above). While the film isn’t anything groundbreaking, it does give us Harrison Ford making eggs on TV, and that’s actually a lot more entertaining than it sounds.