At the core of Morning Glory is a woman who is far too enthusiastic to be a real person. Meeting every challenge and encounter with a smile is Becky (Rachel McAdams), a woman so optimistic that it's impossible to dislike her. She treats everyone well, doesn't say a single nasty thing about anyone, and is hilariously awkward when not dealing in a professional setting. She's a television producer who dreams of being called to work on Good Morning America.
Somehow, despite her bubbly personality, she gets fired from the local television station. "Budget cuts" is the reason, and despite her protests to the contrary, she's out of work within the first six minutes of the film. After a terrible pep talk given to her by her mother (in which she's called an embarrassment), she starts applying to every open position in the immediate area -- multiple times, in fact. When she's finally called back, the man on the other end of the phone informers her that he received her résumé ... all five of them. She finally gets an interview here, however, and before you know it, she has herself a new job, this time working on a station's national morning news show.
Unfortunately, this is no Good Morning America. Out of the four nationwide morning news shows, this one, DayBreak, is ranked dead last, and is the laughingstock of the industry. It's in need of some serious improvement, which seems like the perfect job for Becky. After some making some massive changes, like firing one of the news anchors, she seems pretty proud of herself, even though it's a difficult job. She stays that way until the ratings come in, and they've declined. She now has six weeks to bring them up to industry standard, or the show will be pulled.
What Becky is tasked with seems impossible. She only has one news anchor (who doesn't like her), the other reporters are all incompetent, and the ratings are worse than ever. She also has no life outside of her job, something that Adam (Patrick Wilson), another producer at the studio, is trying to rectify. She is also trying to convince grizzled news veteran Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to become the second anchor, although he doesn't consider morning news shows to be real news, and as a result doesn't put his heart into the job.
I'd watch this show ever morning. All of the mornings.
Essentially what we have here are two stories, one infinitely more interesting than the other. When Becky is at work, she's a joy to watch. She's a smart woman whose only flaws include being too dedicated to her job and not having any skill in relationships. The former probably leads to the latter, or maybe it's the other way around. The first story involves her job, and attempting to turn around this television show. The second story has her and Adam having a fling, although it's not all that enjoyable and thankfully doesn't get a lot of time spent on it.
While it may not want to admit it, Morning Glory is a romantic comedy. While there's no real romance to it, most of the clichés and tropes that it uses are straight out of rom-com country. They're used in both of the stories with two different men, and even though most of them aren't in a romantic sense, you'll notice them when they're use. For instance, would you be surprised to learn that one of the final scenes involves one person running through the city in order to get to a place because of the other person's actions?
I'm not telling you this because I didn't enjoy Morning Glory. Not having the romance aspect to the clichés actually helps to keep them fresher than you might think, and because the film as a whole is quite funny, I didn't mind their usage. I know that some people can't stand them, however, so not mentioning they there are a lot of them here wouldn't be giving you the full picture. You might watch this movie, notice the romantic comedy clichés, and have a lousy time as a result. And that just won't do.
We live in an odd time where Rachel McAdams is a bigger star than Harrison Ford. Isn't that weird?
What makes the film overcome these clichés are both the script, which is intelligent and sharp, and the actors, who give great performances. The screenplay actually has something to say about the behind-the-scenes aspect of television shows, and it contains a lot of enjoyable lines The jokes come frequently enough that you are laughing too often to generally notice the clichés, and because the film is actually saying something, your brain is occupied as well.
The actors also all turn in good performances. Our focus is primarily on Rachel McAdams in a role that makes it almost impossible to hate her, but Harrison Ford's grumpy reporter is also hilarious. Supporting roles given to Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum and John Pankow, while not necessarily wasted, definitely could have used more screen time.
Morning Glory is ultimately a success. It is funny, sharp, and smart, and contains a couple of really solid performances from Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford. It falls when it attempts to balance the personal and professional life of McAdam's character, and also when it uses copious amounts of rom-com clichés, but it's enjoyable enough to overcome these flaws overall, largely thanks to just how likable McAdams is in the lead role.
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