The one thing to appreciate most about Morning Glory – a thoroughly “okay” movie – is that it’s a platonic love story between two coworkers. Rachel McAdams stars as Becky Fuller, a television producer who gets a job at IBS – the fictional network that’s in last place with their morning program. They’ve got a steady anchor in Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), but Becky eventually wants Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford), a once great reporter and anchor who’s now waiting out his contract. But the station (with Jeff Goldblum as their emissary) need to see the show turn around and so there’s a deadline to making the show work, which Mike has no intention of making easy on Becky. My review of the Blu-ray of Morning Glory follows after the jump.
Rachel McAdams’s Becky starts off doing good regional work, but then gets fired. Hungry for any job, she applies for anything vaguely within her field, which is supposed to set up why she gets hired for a losing gig that’s more high profile than anything else she’s ever done. The original co-host (Ty Burrell) is a pig and no one likes him, and going through the contracts, she finds herself wanting to hire Ford’s Pomeroy. Since he’s contractually obligated the partnership is off and running to a bumpy start. Either to detract from the fact that the love story is between a twenty-something and a near-seventy-year old, Becky hooks up with Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson), who is also in the business. The show is on its last legs, and Goldblum threatens Becky with cancelation until she comes up with a last ditch effort to save the show. She knows she can raise the ratings in a month if given the chance, but needs Mike to show he can do his job, even if he feels a morning show is beneath him.
It’s unfortunate that the Criterion Collection just put out Broadcast News because it’s way more insightful on the state of TV network journalism (even 20+ years after the fact), and this movie basically has to acknowledge that old school hardcopy reporters like Mike Pomeroy are outmoded in an era of infotainment. Also, the script comes across as first draft for what amounts to a workplace comedy. There are scenes that are just way on the nose, and the machinations of them are very forced. For instance, Fuller goes weak in the knees when she first meets Pomeroy and gushes to him, and then the punchline is Wilson’s character informing her that Pomeroy is one of the three worst people he’s ever met. I understand why it’s staged this way – it gets information across – but there’s no artistry, and if McAdams has been doing this job for a while one would think she’s know how to hold her shit together – or at least that the film would turn that into something of an explosion moment. This sort of laziness is apparent through much of the film – to which the stakes or hitting those goals seem more like afterthoughts. While also the film doesn’t do well with the pairing of Wilson and McAdams as their relationship has about one degree of heat.
That’s a lot of problems for a film like this, and it would just be passable television if it weren’t for Harrison Ford. He is more on point in Morning Glory than he’s been in years. Ford hit old age quickly, and the glint that was once in his eyes has dimmed significantly. Perhaps its two decades of making modest films. Sure The Fugitive is okay (but it isn’t his movie), and Clear and Present Danger is a well put together (though a bit bloated) action film. But otherwise… This is at least playing to his strengths (gruff but lovable), and when he melts for his producer, you want to melt too. That he seems to be playing a character that plays to his strengths is enough these days with Ford to make it worth watching. Unfortunately the film doesn’t get much out of the pairing of him with another icon of the 70’s, Diane Keaton. I love both of them, but Keaton doesn’t have much to. It also feels like they found their film in the editing room, so it plays sloppy. Still, Ford is enough to make this not a loss.
Paramount’s Blu-ray presents the film in widescreen (2.35:1) and in 5.1 DTS-HD surround. The transfer is great. Extras include a commentary by director Roger Mitchell and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. Extras include a single deleted scene (1 min.) between Keaton and Ty Burrell, which suggests the film may have been slightly hampered by any passing similarities to Anchorman.