Young workaholic Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) gets hired as the new executive producer of the low-rated morning show DayBreak. Forced to shake things up and turn the show around she hires serious television journalist Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) who begrudgingly accepts the gig because of a clause in his contract. Now he’s forced to trade vapid morning banter with the disenchanted DayBreak host Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton).
Having her hands full with two bickering hosts, a non-existent audience and her boss looking to end the show, Becky falls for fellow producer Adam (Patrick Wilson). However, her focus on her job doesn’t allow much time for personal relationships. Will DayBreak ever be able to turn itself around and find its audience? Will all the characters learn an important lesson about themselves and each other? Yeah, probably.
The setup to this story really sounds tantalizing. Here we’re going to get a comedic take on gossip masquerading as news, entertainment vs journalism, a biting look at the workings of a television program, satirizing morning shows and the personalities involved. Plus, it has a pretty good cast too!
There seemed to be plenty to explore and have fun with, but Morning Glory ends up being such an extremely conventional, ‘light-hearted’ comedy I was left shaking my head. It’s not that it’s such a predictable story that got me frustrated, but that so much of the idea and actors are simply wasted in it.
McAdams is the executive producer who despite her cynical opposition somehow infects everyone with her enthusiasm. We’re supposed to really like her character and root for her and all that, but after a short time I found her pretty tiresome and boring.
For some reason they give her the romantic subplot with Wilson, which is so flat and uninvolving they should have left it out completely. There is no sparks or interest in this blossoming relationship. They quickly meet and start having sex.
But they wanted to show that this working woman has to learn there’s more to life than just work, so they make her learn that by making her have one of the most mundane romantic relationships ever.
Morning Glory is not a romantic comedy. There’s not enough time spent on Becky and Adam’s relationship to make us care about them and the only obstacle they have between them is that Becky is distracted by her work when they’re having dinner. It’s just unnecessary padding to the meatier portion of the film – her actually working on DayBreak. But they don’t have much interesting things to do with that part anyway.
Ford spends his time as the grumpy newsman who’s shanghaied into this light program. He’s fine for awhile, but the laughs never take off. I kept waiting for the funny, terrific scenes between him and Keaton as their disdain for each other escalates little by little, but that never comes.
Even looking at the photos of the two of them together sitting at the newsdesk I think to myself, “this should be funny”. But it isn’t. It amounts to sporadic lackluster quips tossed at each other and that’s the amount of it.
The heart and sentimentality the film tries to inject into the proceedings is artificial and plummets with a loud crash. By the time Ford has his soul baring moment with McAdams it’s so forced and awkward it doesn’t ring true at all and comes off eye rolling.
I’m still not sure what he means when he tells her he had nothing until she came along. He’s been miserable the whole time. We didn’t see one instant where he was enjoying his new gig at this morning show or taking a liking to anyone there.
Are we expected to accept he was really secretly enjoying this job the whole time? So not only is that scene overly melodramatic, but confusing too. And when did all these people become ‘family’? Oh, I guess because the movie tells us they are we don’t have to see how that actually evolves and happens.
Keaton doesn’t get to do much. She’s almost a nonentity in this. She just switches from her sunny on-air disposition to jadedness. The supporting characters working on the show are I think supposed to be a fun mix of memorable quirky characters we’re supposed to grow to love, but you’re not going to remember them the moment they leave the screen.
There aren’t any surprises in the story. You’ll be able to telegraph moments well over an hour ahead of time before they come and predict the story beats. The tried and true movie montage with foot-tapping tunes supposedly help to illustrate the passage of time, remind us what is going on and how we’re supposed to feel throughout the whole thing.
As soon as I started spending more time noticing the New York locations the film used than what was happening between the characters onscreen I knew the film lost me.
Ford has been trying to find some success in his post-action career. He’s been trying other roles, taking more supporting parts, but none of them have really paid off. Morning Glory had potential for a fun performance by him, but the whole thing is a squandered project. Not a good movie.