Story of a Working Girl
As with the summer season, the holiday season is a time when Hollywood pulls out the big guns, while also rushing its prestige films out. That also means that it is a time for smart counter-programming: movies designed for those who aren’t interested in all the hullaballoo, or need something else to see after Harry Potter sells out. Morning Glory seems to fall in this category. Moved up from a Friday to a Wednesday release to give it a few more days before the big guns come to town, the movie could easily be considered this year’s It’s Complicated. Thanks to its good-natured, familiar story and likable cast, it should leave audiences with a good feeling as they depart the theater.
When we first meet Becky Fuller, her professional enthusiasm is interfering with her chances of finding love on a blind date. She’s completely dedicated to her job as the producer of an extremely early morning television show and seems the shoo-in for a great position that has just opened up. Unfortunately, her superiors instead hire someone from the outside with a glossier resume, and budget cuts make Becky’s position superfluous. Even as her own mother expresses doubts in Becky’s ability to achieve in the profession she has pursued since she was a little girl, Becky refuses to give up.
Thanks to her boundless enthusiasm—and the fact that no one else wanted the job—Becky is hired to executive produce “Day Break,” New York’s lowest-rated morning news program. Becky has big ideas for the show, but will need to get them up and running shortly because the show’s low ratings have upper management ready to pull the plug. One of Becky’s big ideas is to hire legendary newsman Mike Pomeroy as co-anchor and she uses a clause in his contract to rope him in. It’s a great idea in theory, but Pomeroy’s refusal to banter with his former beauty queen co-host and do any story that he feels is beneath him—all of them—causes nothing but headaches for his young producer.
Directed by Notting Hill’s Roger Michell, Morning Glory has that same polished, light-hearted feel as his previous hit. The plot is somewhat weak, but familiar. The ambitious heroine is thrown into a situation that at first seems way over her head, but just when it is about to beat her all the way to the ground she finds that spark that will bring it all together. The movie coasts along for awhile without really seeming to be heading anywhere, but when Becky starts to hit her stride, so does the movie. There is a very funny sequence right in the middle of the film when Becky and the show just let it all hang loose that should delight even the crustiest audience members.
Becky is played by Rachel McAdams, an actress who doesn’t seem to get the attention and recognition she deserves despite some fine work in both successful and some not-so-successful movies. Here she is front and center in the middle of two veteran acting heavyweights and she more than holds her own. She also shows off a talent for awkward physical comedy as she “bungles and rambles” her way through the movie’s first half. In this way she is somewhat reminiscent of a young Diane Keaton.
Keaton plays one of the aforementioned heavyweights as the former beauty queen turned talk show host Colleen Peck. Unlike her grumpy co-host, Colleen gives her all for every story and she’s one of the first to buy into her new producer’s wild ideas. Thanks to this, film audiences are treated to Keaton kissing frogs, sumo wrestling, and even rapping on stage with 50 Cent.
Meanwhile, Mike Pomeroy is played by Harrison Ford, an actor to whom “playing it gruff” seems to come naturally. Long one of Hollywood’s biggest box office stars, the actor may now be making the transition to smaller, supporting roles. He was part of an ensemble cast in last year’s Crossing Over and earlier this year played second fiddle to Brendan Fraser in Extraordinary Measures. His performance in Morning Glory is a bit up and down. He’s best when his character sheds his gruff persona for a bit to fix breakfast or wander drunkenly singing around his apartment. His big emotional scene later in the film, however, feels more awkward than powerful.
Ford singing in the apartment is one of multiple moments in Morning Glory that are reminiscent of 1988’s Working Girl in which Ford also starred. Becky’s story may not be as strong as Tess McGill’s in that Oscar-nominated film, but it is nevertheless enjoyable.
Morning Glory is rated PG-13 for “some sexual content including dialogue, language and brief drug references.” This is a fairly tame movie and it’s really only a few choice words away from being PG.
Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of Morning Glory.