Better then the Adrian Chiles one...
, 03 May 2011
In all honesty watching a film starring Harrison Ford where he plays a grumpy man shouldnt be much of a surprise. In retrospect, its almost a default setting for one of cinemas most loved acting heroes. Think about it: Indy was a grouch, Han Solo a grump, President Marshall was gritty, Deckard was granite. The list is a whos who of intense cinema characters.
Here though he stars as tough as old boots anchorman Mike Pomeroy, a craggy old fella whos brought in by Rachel McAdams enthusiastic can-do Exec Producer, Becky, to raise the ratings of a failing morning magazine show (I did almost laugh that it was also called Daybreak). But things certainly dont go to plan as he rubs cast and crew up the wrong way by refusing to get involved or even engage in anything that isnt even remotely newsworthy.
Its up to Becky to not only control her new presenter pairing, but also create the ideas, make the stories as well as balance a new relationship with office hot stuff Adam (Patrick Wilson). Its a punishing juggling act where not all of the balls manage to stay up in the air for very long.
When I initially approached this movie I had ideas of it being along the same lines as Devil Wears Prada only with double the Mirandas in the form of Mike and Diane Keatons prima donna Colleen. To all intents and purposes, thats pretty much what it aims for, only it fails to hit the Streep highs for a number of reasons. First of all while Ford is indeed in pure unadulterated bastard territory, hes not as imposing, nor as threatening. In fact as his relationship with Keatons Colleen goes sour they turn more in to bickering high school kids or indeed an old married couple. Hes nowhere near as brooding or intense although certainly has more bark as well as bite.
Secondly this is the media industry and not fashion. Being precious is still a popular requisite in the TV world but Fashion takes it to a whole other level. Morning Glory does have its nice little arguments, especially in the pursuit of deciding whats news and what is entertainment with a nice spat between Mike and Becky in the middle certainly striking a chord in regards to how far you can go before articles become just about ratings rather then information. But the cheesy resolution (a bran doughnut?) certainly could have been better resolved.
Mirandas bitchiness aside though, this fails to hit the heights of Devil Wears for other reasons also. Events are not as well covered and Becky is no Andy. Fundamentally in character they are almost one and the same but Anne Hathaway is the right side of adorable while Rachel McAdams tips over into annoying. Its not all her fault, Becky is one of those characters that despite having the right intentions just gets up your nose for all the wrong reasons, rendering her plight almost obsolete, therefore negating the movies structure. No amount of pleading or flukey decision making (as her ideas perennially seem to be) can win you around to the fact that she is just plain unappealing. Her character certainly doesnt fit the mould of an exec. producer either. Maybe a Tina Fey type character might have been more appropriate.
Morning Glory is also described as being a romantic comedy but while this movie starts with Becky justifying herself to a date, this is a complete misnomer. What romance there is between Becky and Patrick Wilsons Adam is barely given a glance as she uses him more for his insider knowledge on Mike then for actually relations. Its very odd considering Wilsons quality that he ends up as sidelined as this. One can only suppose that the cutting room floor saw more of him then the final film did.
It has some funny moments (graphics people I know may wince at one) and Keaton and Ford do a great bickering couple routine (with more goodbyes then a Two Ronnies sketch) but it fails to really nail down exactly what it is, and finishes its arcs off with not so much a bit of cheese but a large farms worth dollop of it. Sadly by being unable to decide its real angle you have to end up asking Whats the story
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