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Morning Glory (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 102 minutes

OK for children.

It’s hard for me not to like a film with Rachel McAdams, and this one has her in almost every scene. She’s a young producer of a low-rated morning show called Daybreak, with a tough boss, Jeff Goldblum, a cantankerous co-anchor (Harrison Ford) and a jealous co-host (Diane Keaton, who gives, for my money, her best performance since The Godfather saga). Thrown in is a romance between McAdams and Patrick Wilson.

Charmingly directed by Brit Roger Michell (Nottinghill) from a wonderful script by Aline Borsh McKenna, who also wrote the script for the terrific The Devil Wears Prada, this is a thoroughly enjoyable jaunt through early-morning TV.

McAdams doesn’t have to carry the movie, although her performance is good enough to, if necessary. Ford gives a fine performance as the crusty former anchor who thinks he’s a “newsman.” That’s a conceit that network anchors seem to adopt, even though all they are, are photogenic, articulate newsreaders. They wouldn’t know how to cover a story if their life depended on it. Can you imagine Katie Couric or Brian Williams actually trying to research and write a story on their own?

So Ford, who calls the character he plays an “ass,” shows how involved with themselves these people are. One unfortunate scene showed him having dinner with three media egomaniacs, Chris Matthews, Morley Safer, and Bob Scheiffer, all three closed-minded icons of the far left main stream media. It might have been politic had Michell been more balanced and included at least one TV personality who was not a charter member of the far left media. Even so, Ford gives a sparkling portrayal of a self-serving, egotistical jerk.

My only criticism of the film is that Goldblum is in far too few scenes. Jeff is a fine actor and deserves more exposure. It seems as if the only roles he lands now are as the third or fourth banana.

Wilson gives another good performance in a papier-máché role that is less than challenging. Although he made an appearance in the forgettable The Alamo (2004) he first made an impression on me in Hard Candy (2006), the film that introduced Ellen Page, an indie thriller that I thought one of the best of 2006, although not many people saw it. He has a wide range. Even though he seems to be getting more roles, none has come close to showing the talent he displayed in Hard Candy.

This is an old-fashioned, feel good romantic comedy that allows McAdams to further secure her place on the A List, highly entertaining.