The Director Roger Michell has had a strange career recently jumping from Rom-Com smash hit Notting Hill to the bold psychological adaption of Ian McEwen’s Enduring Love to the slightly over explicated Venus. Here he tackles the world of TV News stations in a satire which quite often seems to be pulling in different directions in such of a voice.
Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is an upbeat young news producer who lands a job at a fading News Station and soon finds herself trying to control her off beat staff, and do something radical to improve ratings. Becky adds grumpy veteran Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to co-anchor the breakfast show with Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton). The pair soon wind each other up the wrong way, and the dispute spills over onto the air. There is a difference between the cutting edge news reporting which Pomeroy expects the station to produce, and the more modern entertainment, filled freak show which Fuller is trying to push to get fast ratings.
As a standalone comedy Morning Glory is more than adequate, it is sharply written, quick witted, bright and perky in an ironic kind of way. The performances are also mostly very good. McAdams displays a verge and gusto and does make you like what on paper is an unlikeable character; she also displays precise comic timing. Ford enters his most rewarding performance in a very long time. He is nicely buttoned down, and actually convinces as the uptight, grizzly news anchor, in some ways it is a twist on the Dr Jones character. But the real revelation is Diane Keaton who rolls back the years with a sparky, dry, deadpan turn which just reminds you of why she was so effective in those classic Woody Allen films back in the day. The character which feels out of place in all this is the Patrick Wilson love interest that we get to know very little about, and just appears as a cardboard cut out everyman who is just there to move the plot forward rather become a major part of proceedings. This character just hinders a story which didn’t require a romantic element.
The main problem at the core of the film however is that is starts of as satire with nicely defined characters, but then feels that the same characters have to grow and develop feels instead of sticking by its guns. As a result the final third turns into a slushy Hollywood feel good picture, and the change in tone is handled very sloppy. In the end a director who normally gets up close and personal with his players is left with a bit of juggling act, and what we get as a result is a solid film, but also a tad unremarkable.
Director: Roger Michell
Stars:Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton
Runtime: 107 min