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17 January 2011

His Gravity Leavens the Silliness of Morning Glory

Most of the movies I watch are Serious Films. Death: check; doom: check; general sadness: check. From time to time, though, I like to try something a little silly and a little predictable. Morning Glory is plenty silly and utterly predictable but it's also rather charming. I wanted to hate it but somehow, Rachel McAdams's earnestness and Harrison Ford's incessant grumpy deadpan won me over, very much à contre-cœur.

McAdams plays Becky Fuller, a producer for a New Jersey morning TV show who loses her job and manages to talk her way into a job in the (relatively) big leagues: she's going to produce Daybreak, the fourth best morning TV show (out of four) in New York. The network boss (a dour and underused Jeff Goldblum) doesn't think she'll be any good but the turnover of producers for the show is so high that he doesn't have much choice. Her female anchor (Diane Keaton) is a prima donna but tolerable; the male is a feckless foot fetishist and Becky soon fires him. There is no budget to hire a replacement but luckily Becky's hero Mike Pomeroy (Ford), a Pulitzer Prize winning, Serious Reporter, is on two years of gardening leave after getting fired from the evening news and so she manages to convince him he has to do Daybreak if he wants the rest of his payoff. But that doesn't mean he has to do it gracefully.

Spoilers follow but to be fair, the plot is perfectly obvious to anyone who has seen the first 10 minutes of the film. Girl gets new job; girl fails to convince arrogant anchor to play nice on air; girl's boss threatens to axe the show; girl wins over arrogant anchor; arrogant anchor manages to talk girl out of taking her dream job at NBC so they can make Daybreak even better. Meanwhile... Girl meets cute, rich guy who works on another show (played by one or other of the Wilsons); girl likes boy; boy likes girl; girl thinks she has scared boy off with her manicness and with her work obsession; girl realises she can go out with cute boy and keep her job. Yays!

The whole film is about balance and compromise, of course. If Becky lets Pomeroy do a little bit of ace reporting from time to time, he'll show America how to make a frittata; he might even use the word "fluffy." A combination of her sizzle and his sausage (so to speak) make great morning TV! Meanwhile, if Becky puts her BlackBerry in the fridge for a few hours each evening, cute, rich guy might not run away screaming. I really should have been irritated by all of this silliness but somehow, it only started to grate towards the end. As one of the rave reviews of the "new and improved" Daybreak says of Pomeroy, "His gravity leavens the silliness of morning TV." Or, indeed, of Morning Glory.

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