Monday, November 15, 2010

Morning Glory

MPAA (PG-13) USCCB (A-III) Roger Ebert (3 ½ stars) Fr. Dennis (3 ½ stars)

IMDb listing -
CNS/USCCB Review -
Roger Ebert’s Review -

Morning Glory is another movie that's _not_ very complicated but _works_. Rachel McAdams plays Becky a young, optimistic, hardworking to workaholic producer of an early morning news show at a New Jersey television station who gets downsized. Work is all she’s known for years and so she’s disoriented. Her mother doesn’t give her much support “When you were eight, your dream of making it in television news was adorable. When you were 18 it was positively inspiring. Now at 28 it’s becoming a little embarrassing. Dear don’t let it become sad or pathetic.”

Undaunted, Becky goes through a series of embarrassing interviews with no luck in finding new work. Finally on recommendation from her previous boss that she was “the best morning news producer that he’s ever fired,” Jerry Barnes (played by Jeff Goldblum), the director of IBS Network News with far and away the worst network morning news program in the business, takes a chance on her as the new executive producer of the show.

Becky has her work cut out for her. She has to get a thoroughly demoralized and everyone out for themselves staff to work as a team and improve the ratings. Both competent and bouncy and ever optimistic, she sets herself to work. When the male co-anchor of the show gives her lip at her first staff meeting, she summarily fires him (though always with a smile) for insubordination.

This, however, requires her to go searching for a male to co-anchor with veteran of the show Colleen Peck (played by Diane Keaton). After going through a good deal of demo tapes of possible co-anchors for Colleen with her co-producer, she stumbles on an old tape of Mike Pomeroy (played by Harrison Ford) a Ted Koppel-like legend who was simply riding out the rest of his contract in semi-retirement at home after his hard (and presumably evening) news show had been cancelled. Since Pomeroy was a childhood hero of hers and her dad’s and despite the advice of just about everyone around her, she decides to pursue him to take the co-anchor slot. She finds in his contract with IBS that until his contract expires he is obligated to accept any legitimate news job that the network offers him. So she offers him the co-anchor job at IBS’ morning program and he _can’t_ say no.

He is, of course, a crotchety old prima-donna who sets off Colleen Peck as well, since she's something of a prima-donna too, though less so than Pomeroy.

Much ensues from hereon in. There are many, many funny situations and many, many funny lines. The best line of the movie? Pomeroy trying to refuse a direction he receives from the bouncy, ever smiling though tough as nails Becky: “Miss, I had my hand shot through while reporting in Bosnia. I pulled Colin Powell out of a burning jeep. I put a cold damp cloth on the forehead of Mother Theresa as she kneeled down to care for famine refugees during a cholera epidemic. There is no way I’m going to make potato salad on this show!”

Again, this movie treads familiar ground. What makes it work is both the writing and then the spot-on acting by both the headliners in this film (McAdams, Keaton, Ford, Goldblum) as well as the rest of the cast.

Morning Glory is a feel-good movie that most who play in it would be proud of. And I do think that Becky offers a GREAT role model for today’s 20-somethings: Just because you’re happy (and hopefully you are when you're young) does not mean that you can’t be both very skilled and very tough.

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