After losing her job at an early morning New Jersey talk show, Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) finds her life at an impasse. Desperate for a break, she accepts a job as the executive producer for Daybreak, once a hallmark of the IBS network that has now all but vanished from the public consciousness. With one host position filled by Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), Becky exploits a contract loophole to force longtime newsman and current curmudgeon Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to fill the open seat. Peck and Pomeroy do not click and before too long, Daybreak is on the verge of being cancelled. With one last shot, Becky galvanizes her show with quirky ideas and out of the box thinking, topped off by a Pomeroy news piece that puts the show back on the map. But will her new found success take Becky off to bigger and better things or will the little family she created at Daybreak be enough to hold her in place?
I rooted long and hard for "Morning Glory." I wanted it to be great and in fact, there are several truly strong elements in play here. The tone is refreshingly light and easy; there's very little depth or darkness to the film and I mean that as a compliment. Some movies aren't meant for deeper pools (storylines) and this is one of them. It is colorful and bright which makes Ford's cranky, bitter Pomeroy all the more apparent. McAdams, meanwhile, fits the film's overtones perfectly. She is frantic and all over the place, but overwhelmingly sunny and determined. Perhaps this makes Becky a bit less likable than McAdams' normal character but for me this wasn't so much a detriment to my enjoyment of the film as it was an indication of her ability to create a fitting character, ala Kate Hudson in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." In other words, Becky is supposed to be slightly obnoxious and overbearing. (Admittedly, however, the integrity of this point is in question as my unabashed love for McAdams could definitely overwhelm my sense of reason.) Even Ford, while somewhat wooden (as he has been prone to for the last fifteen years or so), seems to invest in his performance in a way that he hasn't in some time. It's not great, mind you, but at least he's trying.
What holds "Morning Glory" back is its script (written by Aline Brosh McKenna) and director Roger Mitchell's use of said script. Honestly, this movie is a script away from being an excellent film instead of just ho-hum pretty good. The dialogue is often weak; other times it's downright oppressive, severely limiting anything that the actors might be able to do. And while I didn't find "Glory" to be overly cliche, many of the more important scenes and emotional moments are just hollow. The movie moves far too fast, too, jumping from scene to scene with very little to hold it together. It plays out as if Brosh McKenna wrote her script then ripped out every third page and that's what they took into production. It is impossible to connect with the characters or to revel in what should have been witty banter and that robs "Glory" of its real impact. Fun and entertaining, this movie is worth a viewing, to be sure, but it misses out on being the powerhouse it should have been.