Pros: Ford, the weatherman, funny and rather sweet
Cons: forgettable romance, overly goofy at times
Ive been taking full advantage of Netflix this month as I master the art of long-distance synchronized movie viewing. Two people with Netflix Instant Viewing accounts have a wealth of movies available to them at their fingertips, and while weve mostly switched off watching movies as least one of us has seen before, Morning Glory was entirely new to both of us. In fact, Id never even heard of it before. While theres nothing terribly noteworthy or groundbreaking about it, this is a fun flick anchored by Harrison Fords performance as a grave, gravelly newsman who has been relegated to the role of frothy morning anchor.
Rachel McAdams stars as plucky producer Becky Fuller, who is hired to reverse the flagging fortunes of the titular news program. She knows she is going to have to make dramatic changes if she is to beat the odds, which are heavily stacked against her, and one of her first moves is to axe sleazy, self-absorbed anchor Paul McVee, played by Ty Burrell. Because Im used to him as goofy, ingratiating dad Phil on Modern Family, it surprised me to see him in such a distasteful role, but he certainly comes across as sufficiently obnoxious.
With Paul out the door, Becky must scramble to find someone else to cohost alongside Colleen Peck, the rather divaish anchor zestily played by Diane Keaton. Everyone, particularly her resigned boss, Jerry Barnes, portrayed by a deadpan Jeff Goldblum, pooh-poohs the idea of bringing in veteran talking head Mike Pomeroy, who has won numerous awards for his journalistic prowess but is now considered all washed up. Hes none too enthusiastic about the prospect either, but contractual obligations compel him to comply with Beckys request. Will he be just what the network needs to turn the show around, or is she biting off more than she can chew with this surly senior?
This is a cute, lightweight movie about a career-driven young woman and a sterling broadcaster learning from each other. While there is a romantic component to the film, that relationship never feels as compelling as the peculiar bond that Becky and Mike share. Once a heroic figure to her, Mike now is the source of most of her frustration, to say nothing of Colleens. Their testy banter is the source of much mirth, and Ford in particular can be counted upon for humor just about every time he opens his mouth to say something ornery, though there is a heartwarming element to his performance too as he gradually lets his guard down. Its a little strange to see him playing such an elderly character, but while Mikes actions may be more sedate than blasting Imperial starships or dodging snakes en route to ancient treasures, his mind is as sharp as Indiana Jones whip.
While McAdams is likable, albeit a bit exhausting, as this blazing ball of ambition, the most amusing character after Mike is Ernie Appleby, the hapless weatherman played by Matt Malloy. As Becky seeks to punch up the morning programming, poor Ernie is called upon to do ever more absurd tasks, and one wonders how far his geniality can stretch when he clearly is not particularly thrilled with these assignments.
This isnt the sort of movie that people are likely to be talking about much in 20 years. Nobody seemed to be talking about it when it came out two years ago. Still, its got a strong leading trio and lots of zingy dialogue, and it shines an amusing light on the tug-of-war between hard news and entertainment that all morning shows must deal with. I wouldnt call it glorious, but Morning Glory is a fun diversion.
Because Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors, this is an entry in Swooshfan2's Favorite Stars Write-Off.