Monday, 3 October 2011

Morning Glory

Lowdown: A newly recruited female executive producer tries to resurrect a TV morning show.
It’s hard for me to come up with a film where the sole central character is a woman. True, there is the occasional Sandra Bullock flick, but hands on your heart: how often do we see such a film with someone who is not a guaranteed crowd pleaser in the main role? Morning Glory is such a film, and it is definitely nice to see a well made film where a woman does the job most other films reserve for men.
The woman is Becky (Rachel McAdams), who starts the film working on a small time New Jersey TV morning show. She takes us to a blind date where it becomes clear Becky is a walking men repellent because her entire life is dedicated to work. Then our Becky loses her job when the network decides to bring someone with a proper degree instead, putting her in a situation where all of her passion and devotion might be in vain.
In desperation Becky fires her CV off in all direction. Eventually she gets her chance to executively produce a failed national TV morning show. She grabs the opportunity with both hands, moves to New York, and starts her war to resurrect the show. Battles revolve mostly around getting the crew to act professionally and cooperate, not an easy task with the egos you would get on national TV. By far her biggest challenge, though, is taming Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford), an ex news person with a prestigious Pulitzer filled past, into a morning show he obviously deems beneath him. Can Becky succeed in turning her de facto family from a dysfunctional one and into a functional one?
Let’s talk about Herrison Ford for a minute. The guy was my childhood idol; he still was an idol long after that. In Morning Glory he may be limited to a supporting role, but his performance is the best I have seen from him since the age of Solo/Jones/Deckard. Generally speaking I have to say all the primary actors, and there’s a long list of them (Diane Keaton and Jeff Goldblum, to name a couple) do a good job; Ford is the one whose performance you’ll remember.
As charming as it is, Morning Glory does have its reliability problems. Take McAdams' character, for example, whose boyfriend-less status is emphasized as an indicator for her devotion to work: suggesting that men overlook her because of that is an insult to all the men I know, men who would grovel at the feet of such a good looking woman and be happy they don't need to invest much in the relationship. There’s also the matter of McAdams’ behavior under pressure, as in, would she really make the professional choices she makes at the end of the film in real life? No way.
Other than that, Morning Glory is a good story on what makes people work together. It’s a rare combination of good drama, effective comedy and a romantic film. To this blogger, for whom the city of New York carries special personal meaning, the film was a rare case of production design so successful I truly felt like I was in New York again. Last time I felt this way it was Splash's fault; indeed, director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, 1995’s Persuasion and Venus) did a fine job with Morning Glory.
Best scene #1: Our initial introduction to Harrison Ford’s character in a well done but a typical elevator scene.
Best scene #2: In order to spice ratings up, the morning show’s weatherman is sent to perform special weather reports. I cracked my stomach laughing – I can hardly recall laughing so hard at home, without the effect of a crowd laughing around me.
Technical assessment: An average Blu-ray with occasionally distorted colors but a nicely mixed soundtrack. I even enjoyed the contemporary pop songs, which is incredibly rare for me.
Overall: Well made girl power entertainment. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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