November 15, 2010

MOVIES: Morning Glory (Roger Michell, 2010)

Rachel McAdams stars as Becky Fuller, an ambitious young TV producer handed the enormous task of revitalizing Daybreak, the 4th-place morning news show. She's got one veteran host (Diane Keaton, in a role that's much smaller than the advertising would lead you to believe), but needs to find a co-host for her. Through a few plot contrivances involving unlikely contract clauses, she's able to force retired anchorman Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to take the job. (For a real world analogy, imagine that CBS somehow dragged Dan Rather back into service to spend his mornings with Julie Chen on The Early Show.)

And from there, you can surely see how the story plays out. Mike grumbles and complains about being forced into so undignified a position; Becky twinkles and sparkles and (eventually) charms him into submission, saving the doomed show in the process. It's no Broadcast News -- a comparison that I believe I am required to make under the terms of my Junior Movie Blogger contract -- but it's a moderately entertaining movie.

Ford doesn't do comedy very often; the last two I see on his IMDB page are Sabrina and Working Girl. He should do more of it, because he's quite funny. I hadn't seen any of his movies in a while, and hadn't realized quite how raspy his voice has gotten; he plays it like a gravelly violin here, finding surprisingly subtle variations on the theme of grumpy. And McAdams, playing a character so cheerfullly perky and spunky that she could be excruciatingly annoying, is instead charming, smart, and sexy.

McAdams gets an unnecessary romantic subplot, in which Patrick Wilson plays the bland boyfriend; there's solid supporting work from Keaton and from Matt Malloy as the show's buffoonish weather guy. Morning Glory isn't something you need to rush out to theaters for, but when it lands on cable, it'll make for a harmless evening's diversion.

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