Sometimes all it takes is one actor to get you to the theater to see a movie, and the ever-adorable and talented Rachel McAdams was enough to draw my attention to Morning Glory. I'll tell you right off the bat that McAdams is the best part of the film. Unfortunately that's not saying much, as she and the rest of the stellar cast are wasted on a film that's trying way too hard to be both funny and touching, and it only moderately succeeds at either goal.
McAdams stars as Becky, a 28-year-old producer for a morning news program in New Jersey. Overworked and underpaid, Becky finds herself in a pickle when she thinks she's about to get a major promotion but is fired instead. Packing ambition, an undying love for the news, and the brightest eyes you've ever seen, she heads to New York. Becky's tenacity lands her a job at DayBreak, an ailing morning news program with abysmal ratings, catty anchors, and a revolving door of executive producers. Sounds like a great predictable-but-fun popcorn flick, right? To find out why it doesn't make the cut, just
At the start of the film, Becky is refreshingly real: her hair is moderately unkempt, she's a little awkward on dates, and she's not afraid to admit that her lifelong dream is to be a producer on The Today Show. She's also got charisma and a tough skin that withstands Mike Pomeroy, a crotchety-but-revered news anchor with a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas (Harrison Ford). Once Becky blackmails Mike into taking the job, she begins the arduous task of getting Mike to drop his attitude and accept all that comes with working on a morning news show.
Unfortunately, the film's realism ends there, because as Becky begins to drown with her sinking ship of a show, so does her character in a multitude of subplots that are never fully developed. Her relationship with fellow network producer Adam goes from a disaster first date to sweet courtship to fighting couple in a matter of weeks (and not nearly enough scenes). The film spends entirely too much time delving into Mike's back story as an award-winning anchor, and though Ford delivers some of the film's biggest laughs, Mike's cranky demeanor grows wearisome.
It's not that Morning Glory is a completely terrible movie; it just could have been so much better with a little more finesse. Its saving grace is McAdams, who is so doe-eyed and determined that you can't help but root for her. In the hands of another actress, Becky could come off as irritating or overly clichéd, but McAdams strikes just the right balance between quirky and endearing, making her fun to watch despite ridiculous hijinks (and, eventually, a sudden onslaught of melodrama).
One of the biggest conflicts of the film is Becky's relationship with Mike, as she tries to convince him that audiences care about fluff pieces just as much as they care about hard news. The irony is that the movie itself proves that not all fluff pieces are worth your time.