When I go into a romantic comedy directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill) and written by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), I expect quirky characters, some funny monologues, and montages set to the poppiest of pop tunes. What I don’t expect is Broadcast News, the film Morning Glory has been endlessly compared to since its release. Morning Glory lacks the deep, satirical introspection of broadcast journalism that makes Broadcast News a juicy classic. But in the case of this movie, it doesn’t bother me one bit. If I want Broadcast News, I’ll watch Broadcast News.
Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams, finally getting a role worthy of her boundless screen charm) is a young, harried, loveless, workaholic producer for a New Jersey morning news program. (She also has really unfortunate but endearing bangs.) After being fired, she sets out on a frantic job hunt that lands her way into an executive producing gig with “Daybreak”, the joke of the morning news.
The experienced but dedicated Becky is given the seemingly impossible task of saving the fourth-rated program from cancellation. She hardballs legendary news anchor Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) into joining the program as co-anchor with Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton). Pomeroy and Peck battle it out on the airwaves for control over the show with Becky stuck as the middleman. Ford, nailing the part of the curmudgeon newscaster, steal scenes with every monotone mumble.
In a movie all about its endearing female lead finding success and love, it is the romance that’s put on the backburner. We’re supposed to care that Becky’s relationship with hunky news producer Adam (Patrick Wilson) is floundering. (Girl, just put down the Blackberry!) But we don’t. That is in part because their relationship is inconsistent and underdeveloped. Adam is just a prop, whose sole purpose is to teach Becky how not to be a neurotic workaholic and to show the audience just how lovable she can be.
Instead it is the comical and mature work relationship that develops between Becky and Pomeroy that becomes the true focus of Morning Glory. Her overenthusiastic, can-do attitude to his hard-edged, never-smiling persona plays off each other perfectly. Albeit McAdams sometimes seemed more than crazed. (The bangs really don’t help.)
When you place these two character’s alongside “Daybreak”’s quirky characters, the up-for-anything Colleen, the goofy weatherman, the entertainment girl with a limited vocabulary, -who all join in Becky’s shameless attempts to boost ratings – the effortless charm of Morning Glory wins out.
Yes, Morning Glory may lack the depth of Broadcast News. But since when does every movie set in a newsroom have to be Broadcast News? That presumption and expectation sets an impossible standard for most films to reach. Especially when Morning Glory is, in its own way, a solid, enjoyable, and yes, fluffy, to use Mike Pomeroy’s favorite word, romantic-comedy.