Rachel McAdams in Morning Glory

Rachel McAdams ('Sherlock Holmes,' 'State of Play') leads this comedy as Becky, the smart though overly effusive workaholic who convinces a network exec to give her a shot at resuscitating the show 'Daybreak.' As the serious newscaster fallen from grace, Mike Pomeroy, Harrison Ford is impossibly orange and delivers all his lines in a Christian Bale-worthy growl. Diane Keaton plays his pill-crunching co-anchor Colleen Peck, who starts out as testy but soon becomes game to try anything from sumo wrestling to rapping with 50 Cent to liven up the show. Power struggles, zingers, and scenes of a weatherman who will do literally anything for his audience are harmlessly and forgettably funny. Writer Aline Brosh McKenna ('27 Dresses,' 'The Devil Wears Prada') throws in an odd romance between Becky and fellow TV producer Adam (Patrick Wilson) to add some drama, but there's little effort spent actually developing it.

Early on in the movie, after Becky is laid off from a rinky-dink station in Jersey, her mother chides her that she should just give up her dream. After all, she is 28! What was cute as a child is now "officially embarrassing." Her dad encouraged her too much, and now look where it's got her. (Subtext: Not married or providing grandchildren, that's for sure.) There's nothing like an underwritten, undermining mother to explain a character's weaknesses. Becky later tells Pomeroy that she and her father used to watch his newscasts together, but we're beaned over the head with her daddy issues when Pomeroy literally calls her on it. Naturally, he has children and a grandchild, and when he gets a big news scoop, it's because he wanted to prove to himself and to them that he still could, that he still mattered, because he felt totally emasculated when he was fired way back when, etc. While it's an interesting angle, it's certainly not subtle. 'Network' this ain't.

McAdams is effortlessly likeable; here she seems to be channeling early Meg Ryan, although she's shown in movies like 'State of Play,' she's more than capable of handling more serious fare. It's hard to get a handle on who Becky is supposed to be. Thankfully, she's too self-aware to be the typical type A career woman, and she definitely has moments where she swoops in and kicks butt, like when she fires the pervy co-anchor at the beginning of the movie. At the same time, even other characters are baffled by her enthusiasm, and two of them even ask if she's going to break into song. She waffles between insecurity and absolute determination, with plenty of moments of insouciant pluckiness in between.

The meatiest parts of the movie are the scenes with McAdams and Ford, which is unfortunate since his performance is so grating and over-the-top that he's a mere caricature of both himself and of great newscasters. If he had dialed it back a few notches, the poignancy of their relationship would have felt much truer. Half of the time she's figuring out how to placate him, and half the time she's trying to keep him in line, even if that means sleeping on his sofa so he doesn't call in sick on his first day of work.

In a nutshell, 'Morning Glory' is about another career woman with daddy issues who seeks to fulfill them in her professional rather than her personal life. Luckily, the daddy figure she hopes will give her the approval and encouragement she seeks is the one who needs it just as much as she does. 'Morning Glory' isn't a great movie, but it's a harmless, sometimes funny one that will make a lot of money at the box office and hopefully bring McAdams more starring roles.
categories Reviews, Cinematical