Thursday, 27 January 2011
FILM REVIEW: Morning Glory
Right. This is not Broadcast News. This is not Network. The only thing you need to know about this film is that it's directed by the guy who did Notting Hill and it's written by the woman behind 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada. In fact: Morning Glory IS pretty much The Devil Wears Prada, but this time set in the TV industry and Meryl Streep has metamorphosed into a Jeff Goldblum-Harrison Ford fiendish monster (with two heads of course).
Bouncy, bouncy Becky (Rachel McAdams, who couldn't be more bouncy) has dreamt all her life to produce TV news programmes, namely CBS' The Today Show. But fired from her lowly job at Good Morning New Jersey, she finds herself unemployed and slightly desperate. Her enthusiasm lands her a job with Jeff Goldblum at made-up network IBS as new executive producer of Daybreak (snigger) the channel's breakfast news magazine show. Which is horrendously bad, and aptly trailing in the ratings. Becky's first port of call to transform the show is to fire the current male anchor and persuade fading household name and king of serious news Mike Pomeroy (Ford) to front the show with co-host and long standing Daybreak survivor Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton). Of course he refuses, but when contractual small print means he has to take on the job he does so - with all the warmth and light of a gnarly plank of wood. Frustrated and given an ultimatum by Goldblum, Becky starts throwing all of her energy into crazy car crash television stunts to increase the ratings to try to save the show from being cancelled (and when she has a spare moment schmoozing with Patrick Wilson). But all that goes into crisis mode until guess who saves the day - Mike Pomeroy, who likes her after all. Then hates her again, and when The Today Show offers her a job she goes off to interview. Believing he may be about to lose the one person who's ever had faith in him - Pomeroy saves the day again. With eggs. And she realises that she will give up her big dream to be happy rather than alone and miserable.[/nutshell]
This stuff writes itself really. You can't get a more predictably wouldn't-happen-in-real-life film than Morning Glory. The schmaltz is packed to the rafters. Of course she will get the job. Of course the first man she meets will be the man of her dreams. Of course she will save the show. Of course Mike Pomeroy will secretly like her behind his uncooperative grumpiness. Of course there will be a melodramatic swing of feeling that will make everyone cry just as she's about to accept a job at The Today Programme (what I loved about that scene was how, even though she is being interviewed at CBS, the TV screens in her interview are playing Daybreak. HA!) Of course her choice will be the right one in the end, etc, etc, etc. Still, sometimes it's nice to go and enjoy a film for enjoyment's sake and shut the old noggin off.
And what makes this film enjoyable? Definitely more enjoyable than the aforementioned three romcoms in my opening, is the presence of Rachel McAdams. I was intrigued going into this film as she has been getting so much praise (more so than Ford and Keaton) and I was slightly bemused by it. Yes, she's a good actress, but is she really amazing? It's only when you try and fit a Cameron Diaz or a Katherine Heigl into her role as scatty but adorable Becky that you realise everyone is right: Rachel McAdams makes this film watchable, and very funny.
Because the person who glues the film together is so likable, it makes you gloss over some of the parts I would normally gripe about, even though I did feel her romance with Patrick Wilson did get very comfy very quickly - there was no getting to know each other part: suddenly they are practically living together. And I did HATE when Mike Pomeroy sneakily lets Colleen Peck into his dressing room at the end (why can't people just continue to dislike each other? Is that so against the rules of romcom?!). But I found myself willing for the clichés to happen and for Mike Pomeroy to show his soft side and affection for Becky. And yes, I cried a lot when he looks up from making his frittata and sees her standing there watching him at the side of the set. But 50 Cent - WHY?
The film itself doesn't really show much of the TV news industry - and that's why I mention its no Broadcast News or Network, because you're not going to get much insight and cutthroat politics here - all of the characters are incredibly heightened and false, and that's why it makes it so entertaining. Just don't expect too much focus on what Becky actually does in her job, other than be absorbed by it and elevated by all of her surprisingly winning ideas.
If I sound cynical I'm trying not to be. Morning Glory is a lot of fun, and probably would have felt a lot funnier if I hadn't been in a cinema screen with five other people. It's one of the better romcoms, and has the most amazing diss of Angela Lansbury I've ever heard in my life! The Natasha Bedingfield song at the end is also infuriatingly catchy.
And how can I not like a film that contains the line, "have you ever tried a real egg?"