Movies: Morning Glory * * *
(12A, general release)
Frothy but not fun
Harrison Ford does grumpy suspiciously well, and he's magnificently disagreeable in this light, frothy, shamelessly derivative but undeniably entertaining comedy.
Likeable Canadian actress Rachel McAdams leads the cast as Becky Fuller, a New York TV executive whose world collapses when she's sacked from a New Jersey morning show. Becky has devoted herself to her work at the expense of any kind of personal life, and searches desperately for a new position to fill the void.
She thinks her luck is in when a major network boss called Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) offers her a job producing the DayBreak morning show, but Becky soon finds out that the post is a poisoned chalice.
DayBreak is struggling badly in a ratings war with the Today Show, and if its viewing figures don't pick up soon it's going to get canned. On set, the morale is low, the two egocentric anchors don't get on and no one seems ready to take Becky seriously. But the staff soon find out she's made of stern stuff: she sacks one anchor, and handles the other -- a shrewish diva called Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) -- better than anyone expected.
As ratings continue to plummet, she then has the bright idea of making star journalist Mike Pomeroy (Ford) an anchor. A legendary but ageing and spectacularly grumpy hard news journalist, Pomeroy is still under contract at the network, but no one knows what to do with him and, when Becky asks him to join DayBreak, he isn't exactly cooperative. Instead, he belittles her at every opportunity, retains the right to say no to soft stories and and hacks off virtually everyone on the team. He's like a bear with a sore paw, but Becky reckons she'll be able to tame him: the only trouble is she's running out of time.
Ford is handed most of the best lines in Morning Glory, and delivers them with considerable aplomb. In his expert hands and those of fellow old-stagers Keaton and Goldblum, an adequate script shines intermittently, and the film has moments of real comedy.
Unfortunately, though, it has little bite and offers absolutely no surprises. Even the dimmest viewer will have figured out exactly what's going to happen from pretty early on, even down to the convenient relationship that surfaces between Becky and a handsome executive. Furthermore, it bears suspicious resemblances to James L Brooks' witty 1987 satire Broadcast News, a film with which it does not bear comparison.
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