Morning Glory, like its director Roger Michell's most notable film, Notting Hill, doesn't reinvent the wheel, but takes it for a pleasant spin around town. He trades the grey skies of London for the skyscrapers of Manhattan with a fun if formulaic romantic comedy that boasts an impressive but underused cast, including Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Jeff Goldblum.
Of course, the real star of the show is Becky Fuller, the behind-the-scenes boss of fictional network IBS' (what a name) fledgling morning show Daybreak, played by America's newest sweetheart Rachel McAdams. She gives Becky spunk, sexiness and a strong resolve to succeed in a business that isn't kind to new recruits. Her task is simple to grasp but hard to execute: revive the show and boost its ratings. Had she been working with Matt Lauer or Diane Sawyer, the job would've been easy but the film would've missed out on the possibilities for screwball workplace comedy.
The heartiest laughs are provided by supporting characters like Ty Burell's Paul McVee, who is more entertaining to watch in his ten minutes of screen time than the majority of the core cast throughout the film's 102 minute run. Not every character is meant for comic relief, though, like Ford's growling curmudgeon Mike Pomeroy, a hard-nosed, award-winning journalist and relic of the past in a world more interested in "fluff" over facts. Pomeroy is strong-armed by Becky into Daybreak co-hosting duties because of a clause in his contract, and he does everything he can to make her life a living hell. His reluctance to cooperate is eventually undermined as a result of a "mutual understanding" between the two, but it feels unauthentic as he betrays his own ideals for a barely developed friendship.
Even more phony is the virtually useless love angle between Becky and Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson), a fellow producer at IBS who advises her not to hire Pomeroy based on his own negative experience with the seasoned commentator. You could remove the character from the film completely without affecting the end result. Unfortunately, the same can be said for Keaton's co-host, Colleen Peck, whose arc mirrors Ford's but who arrives at the finish line first. It's a shame, really, because both are fine actors who could have done a lot more with characters with a bit more depth.
Its message about the sad state of American media aside, depth isn't what Morning Glory is about. This is a cheery comedy with a few chuckles and plenty of charm. Sure, it's silly, but it's definitely not stupid and doesn't get overly sentimental. The script, courtesy of The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna, is sharp enough to entertain if you don't think too hard about it. It may not be the most memorable movie you'll see this winter, but it'll surely bring a smile to your face.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.