"Rachel McAdams deserves an Oscar nomination for 'Morning Glory.'" – Movie Review

Can one woman cure the ills of a last place network morning show through the sheer force of her adorable-ness? One might also ask can an actress cure the ills of a troubled dramatic comedy through that same adorable-ness? The answer to both questions, based on the movie “Morning Glory,” is a shocking, yes.

Rachel McAdams is so vibrant, energetic and adorable that she wills this otherwise rickety dramatic comedy; the definition of that oh so vague, made up term ‘dramedy,’ into becoming a sweet, endearing romance of woman and her work oh and yeah there is this pretty guy in there too.

Rachel McAdams stars in “Morning Glory” as Becky, an adorable whirlwind of a TV news producer who, when we meet her, is on the verge of a promotion. Or so she thought. Turns out she was being fired due to budget cuts. As with all plucky movie heroines however this is merely a speed bump on the way to the job she needs.

After a comically fraught job search in which our peppy wannabe big city gal irritates the entire news infrastructure into reading her resume, she finally gets an interview. The job is with the 4th place network in America, IBS, as executive producer of the lowest rated morning show on network TV.

Her new boss, Jeff Goldblum, in all his Goldblum-y glory, has zero confidence that she can turn the show around but she can’t make it any worse. Or can she? On her first day Becky fires the co-anchor; a sadly under-used Ty Burrell from TV’s Modern Family, despite his irreconcilable contract and leaves the show minus its required male co-host.

Ahh, but our heroine has a plan; on the IBS payroll is a news legend that due to his multi-million dollar contract has to work or not get paid. Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) was demoted from Nightly News Anchor because of his bad attitude and slight drinking problem. Nevertheless, he’s a big name with a long track record that would be a perfect opposite to bubbly co-host Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton).

Unfortunately for Becky even if he has to by contract, Mike Pomeroy doesn’t want to do morning news. He refuses cooking segments, entertainment interviews and basically anything that your average morning news shows do. Mike longs for the days of actual journalism but as Becky correctly points out, the battle between news and ‘info-tainment’ was fought long ago and Mike’s side lost.


Can the plucky upstart wear down the cantankerous superstar while rescuing the floundering show and corralling a new boyfriend, a fellow news producer played in perfect bland handsomeness by Patrick Wilson? Admittedly, the stakes aren’t all that high but star Rachel McAdams makes each feel like an urgent concern.

This is the Rachel McAdams many thought was coming when she starred as the lead ‘Mean Girl’ opposite Lindsey Lohan or when she battled Cillian Murphy in the innovative thriller “Red Eye.” McAdams has wandered in the woods the past few years starring in junk like “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and seeming to crash her potential with poor choices.

Apparently, McAdams was just waiting for writer Aline Brosh McKenna and Roger Mitchell to give her something she could really play. Play it she does in “Morning Glory” amping up the kind of adorable that would shame puppies and kitties and yet remaining sexy instead of merely cute and substantial rather than just perky. No matter how delightfully scattered Becky is McAdams infuses her with bright ingenuity and can-do capability.

The rest of “Morning Glory” is riddled with trouble. Harrison Ford is the least likely network news star since Howard Beale and even more cantankerous. Sure, Ford projects a stately air but with his gritted teeth growl it’s hard to believe that even news junkies took to his Mike Pomeroy, no matter if he was on a battlefield in Kosovo or opposite the President.

Diane Keaton plays cute and clueless ala Kathie Lee Gifford quite well but don’t do not consider her character’s back story for too long as it reveals inconsistencies the story cannot explain. Patrick Wilson’s handsome love interest guy is less problematic; he’s merely under-written and called upon to make uncomfortable attitude turns simply because of plot requirement. But other than that, he’s fine.

“Morning Glory” is riddled with all sorts of minor potholes, including a rather arrogant attitude about morning news shows, but Rachel McAdams overcomes all of those troubles by making the movie all about how plucky, adorable, sexy and smart her character is. She is so winning that we can forgive all of the problems around her which are almost meta when you consider the troubles piled up around both character and actress.

Not kidding at all dear reader, Rachel McAdams deserves an Oscar nomination for “Morning Glory.” Any actress who only through the awesome appeal of her performance can turn around an entire movie at least deserves to be in the Best Actress conversation and McAdams does that in “Morning Glory.”


BYLINE:

Sean Patrick Kernan is a film critic. Check him out at: http://www.myspace.com/number1ramjamfan Email Sean at sean@zoiksonline.com.
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