By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
The boob-tube comedy Morning Glory is as empty-caloried and lowest-common-denominator as the broadcasts it is making fun of.
Becky Fuller, a hotshot television news producer played by Rachel MacAdams (above left), is hired by executive Jeff Goldblum at the fictional IBS network (where he may or may not have Irritable Bowel Syndrome) to boost the sagging ratings of its failing morning TV "news"cast, Daybreak, and pull it out of the last-place ratings doldrums.
Harrison Ford plays Mike Pomeroy, the respected old-school broadcast newsman who reluctantly agrees to co-anchor the gossipy morning TV show and then refuses to stoop to do any of the fluffier stories, leaving that privilege to his contentedly lightweight but much more agreeable and accommodating co-anchor, Colleen Peck, played by Diane Keaton (center of photo).
This, of course, drives not only his on-air partner but producer MacAdams up a wall, where the latter feels just a shade less hassled because of her budding flirtation with a real broadcast journalist, newsmagazine producer Patrick Wilson.
Roger Michell has a directorial résumé that includes some pretty impressive credits coming in (Notting Hill, Persuasion, Changing Lanes), but he falls far short of the mark this time out, most glaringly with his handling of MacAdams, whom he showcases in a string of what seem like music videos, but who badly needs to take a chill pill.
Normally an appealing and effortlessly charming screen presence, here MacAdams gives the kind of overwrought, trying-too-hard, strident performance that makes your hair hurt (see Holly Hunter in Broadcast News for the right approach).
Like the movie itself, MacAdams has a case of the cutes, which is especially noticeable when romantic interest Patrick Wilson is acting her off the screen.
A close second in the coming-up-short department is the script by Aline Brosh McKenna, the screenwriter of The Devil Wears Prada, who gets as much wrong here as she got right in that film. Even allowing for cinematic license, little (not the morning television workplace, not the romantic or professional relationships, not the journalistic values or lack thereof on display) rings true.
And third place goes to Harrison Ford, who gives it his all as the cranky icon this time out but still makes it difficult for us to distinguish between the part he's playing and the critiquing he seems to be dishing out for the subpar movie he's in.
And he still looks as uncomfortable and sounds as one-note in comedy as he looks at home and sounds at ease in dramas and thrillers.
There are far too many false moments throughout (once again, see Broadcast News for the real deal), the worst being what has to go down in as the most unconvincing job interview in cinema history. However, the humor quotient is spiked several times with moments of well-choreographed slapstick.
So we'll broadcast 2 stars out of 4 for the tepid style-versus-substance romp, Morning Glory.
What's the story? Much mourning, little glory.
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