You just need to take a look at the pedigree of Morning Glory to know what you're in for. It's directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill), written by The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses scribe Aline Brosh McKenna and produced by Mr. Felicity himself, J.J. Abrams. And indeed, the result feels remarkably like a mashup of all of these titles; a paint-by-numbers rehash that almost manages to be so much less than the sum of its parts.
Perhaps that’s not entirely fair. Morning Glory (and no, there is no pun intended with the title) kicks off with promise (no pun intended here either). For one it’s lead by the impossibly endearing Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), whose big, bright eyes and infectious enthusiasm positively leap off the screen. She is workaholic morning producer Becky Fuller, who gets retrenched instead of promoted from her New Jersey job and winds up securing a hospital pass of an executive producer spot for a flagging national morning news show, Daybreak. Full of vim and vigour, Becky launches herself into the role, and lays her hopes of revitalisation on securing the talents of former news anchor and heavyweight Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to co-host with bubbly, if heavily medicated, ex-beauty queen Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton). Let the hilarity and colourful montages ensue.
But wait, what about a love interest? Cue Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy), collecting a paycheck as the cute co-worker who teaches the plucky Becky that there's more to life than work. Yes, it's that blatant. Tack on a clumsily written father complex so Becky and the cantankerous Mike can have a heart-to-heart and Morning Glory starts to wilt in front of your eyes.
There must have been serious problems along the way because this film feels like it's been edited with a hacksaw. Continuity is all over the place and some dodgy ADR smacks of last minute rewrites. It's a shame, because for all the predictability because elements of film had such crowd-pleasing potential. McAdams is delightful, and Keaton could have been if someone had given her more to do. As the network boss, Jeff Goldblum wrangles the most laughs, while Ford elicits a few chuckles as he grizzles through his lines 'Get off my lawn' style and Wilson is entirely wasted, relegated to twinkling eyes and white teeth.
If you manage your expectations, Morning Glory is an adequately diverting way to escape the summer sun for a couple of hours. But for those still basking in the glittering promise of new years resolutions, this film's ham-fisted flaws will be enough to ruin your chi.
Australian release date: 6 January 2011
Morning Glory - Trailer A - Paramount Pictures Australia
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