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MOVIE REVIEW: Morning Glory

Rachel McAdams is worth waking up for

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

  • Morning Glory
  • Morning Glory
  • Morning Glory
  • Morning Glory
  • (Center) Diane Keaton as Colleen Peck in "Morning Glory."
  • Rachel McAdams as Becky Fuller in "Morning Glory."
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Morning Glory is easily the most frustrating movie I have seen all year. There are many reasons for this.

The first is that everyone I talked to at Fox5 the week before had been raving about it (you can watch us debate it on the video below).

The story and cast looked promising.

I’ll start this review with the things I liked about the movie.

The station was called IBS.

Nice. It’s like a combination of TBS and “B.S,” as in “I bulls***.”

Diane Keaton.

She was perfect as the morning news anchor of a show called Daybreak (think Today Show).

Rachel McAdams.

She was so cute and adorable. McAdams always seems to turn in good performances – whether it’s an average comedy like Wedding Crashers, or a great comedy like Mean Girls.

Patrick Wilson.

He first came to my attention in the underrated Hard Candy and followed that with a great role in Little Children. There have been a series of unforgettable roles after that and this is one of them. He does have some chemistry with McAdams, though.

There are a few charming moments. There are a few funny moments. Not nearly enough to save a screenplay that needed another rewrite.

A movie can be a silly comedy like Anchorman. We realize nothing about that is realistic, but they throw jokes at you every 10 seconds. Or you can do a serious comedy like Broadcast News, which is a realistic take on TV news. It’s smart and well written. The scene with Albert Brooks dealing with “flop sweat” alone is funnier than all the combined scenes of Morning Glory.

Heck, I’ve seen episodes of Murphy Brown and WKRP that were funnier than this two-hour movie.

Even though the news crew at Fox5 tried to tell me it was a realistic portrayal, I find it hard to believe. I wouldn’t mind if I was laughing more than I did.

A morning news anchor falling asleep on the air, and needing a cameraman to flick cards at her? Now, I fell asleep doing an overnight DJ shift on the radio, but that’s different. You’re in a room by yourself, it’s 3:20 a.m., the coffee machine wasn’t working…and it was a Grateful Dead song. I shut my eyes for a second, which became a few minutes and a few moments of “dead air.” If you’re in a TV station with producers and cameramen running around, I seriously doubt you’d fall asleep no matter what time it was.

The level of anger people in this movie display is off the charts. You thought Meryl Streep was mean in The Devil Wears Prada (this film was written by the same screenwriter).

Jeff Goldblum, who I usually enjoy in movies (I even liked the critically panned The Switch from last year, also with Patrick Wilson). I don’t see Goldblum’s character being so mean to a person during a job interview; or to that same employee when she quickly shows such a strong work ethic.

I also don’t see McAdams doing all the things she did when she first got the job offer, and once she took the job (those things would include yelling into the phone when offered the job, stealing an old person's bicycle, etc.)

When she got the job and fired the head anchor of Daybreak, it was a warranted move. I’m just not sure why that anchor asked if he could take pictures of her feet for a website, and why he skipped a staff meeting only to tell everyone he was watching grandmother porn online. Are news anchors this naïve that they make comments like that where a roomful of people, including new employees, might sue for sexual harassment?

I guess we’re also supposed to believe that people sit in a room pitching stories to the producer – all talking at once. And with story ideas that are so ridiculous, they wouldn’t even make the local news program of a tiny station in Barstow, let alone a syndicated program.

(Although I have to admit, the way the producer answered all the questions was cute.)

Harrison Ford.

I’ve always said he wasn’t a very good actor. I’ll give him credit, though. He always picks movies he’s perfect for. Indiana Jones, The Fugative, Star Wars, Witness, etc.

I’m supposed to believe that when fans meet him on the street and compliment him, he is such a jerk he says “get lost” or “take your hands off me.” I’m guessing even the biggest jerks thank people who compliment them.

I had no problem with the horrible cadence in the way he read the news, because he hates his job. There are two times he’s doing stories he wants, though. Why does he not show more enthusiasm while doing those?

I also argued with the Fox5 crew about the way each newscaster wanted “the last word” so they spent 15 seconds saying “goodbye,” followed by the other saying “goodbye,” and then the other. Really? Two grown adults would do that, not realizing how bizarre they sound? According to them – yes. They even gave me the name of one famous local newscaster that did this (name available upon request).

Jack Nicholson was mean in As Good as it Gets, but he had some mental issues and he did enough that can let the audience see why Helen Hunt would come around. Nothing about the way Ford acts in this would lead us to believe McAdams, or anyone else in that studio, would ever like him.

Ford does have a few double-takes that are good. And he certainly looks like a grizzled news veteran that’s been to Kosovo, etc. I just wish he had a better script to work with (although we did get a great cameo involving news men).

There were also a few scenes that just didn’t make sense.

Two involve dates McAdams is on. The first has her on a first date. She looked at one text and took an important phone call from her boss, explaining that her job has certain requirements; because of this, he ends the date after 10 minutes.

I can speak for most guys when I say – if I was out with Rachel McAdams, and she was always on her cell phone because of work, she gets a pass. I could be kissing her neck while she texts her old boyfriend, and I’d probably be fine with it.

On her first date with Wilson -- a tall, blonde comes up to the table. She asks, “Why did you never call me back?” He awkwardly comes up with an excuse. McAdams doesn’t seem to feel as awkward by all this, but it makes me wonder – what is the audience supposed to take from this? That this good looking producer of another show is a womanizer? And how is that going to get us to root for him or the romance? They obviously want us to like them as a couple, so why even have that scene in there?

The movie was smart to not make the romance a bigger part of the movie. This was a story about a woman that is in love with her job and works hard at it. Romance was always on the back burning for her.

Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams are so adorable, it almost saved this lousy material. I would watch McAdams over Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It made me wonder – why was she not behind a news desk somewhere instead of booking animal psychics?

I could list all the other movies about news or radio that have been better. I don’t think doing that is fair to a movie. Should every mob picture be compared to The Godfather, or every western compared to High Noon? No.

This movie is just so derivative of every other romantic comedy – and “mean boss” movie.

I just can’t help think of all the movies these actors have been in that were better. Harrison Ford in Working Girl, which even had a few similar themes.

And even though the film picked up, just as the show Daybreak was picking up some ratings, it didn’t do enough for me to recommend it.

At the end of the day this was a TV sitcom, and not a very good one. I’m guessing that most people are going to like it, though. The entire theater audienceI was with did (including my girlfriend).

I’m giving it a D.