Morning Glory

2011-02-19 17:35
Morning Glory
What it's about:

Becky Fuller is a young, ambitious TV producer in desperate need of a new job after unexpectedly getting axed from her hit show. She finds possible salvation in a morning show, Daybreak, but only if she can pull it out of its downward spiral towards cancellation by enlisting the aid of well-respected, veteran journalist Mike Pomeroy as a new co-anchor. Unfortunately for her and the rest of the Daybreak team, simply getting Pomeroy on the show is only the start of her troubles. Pomeroy may be a respected veteran but he comes fully equipped with a superiority complex and a particularly nasty temper.

What we thought:

I don't know if you noticed it but we are currently smack bang in the middle of Oscar season – a particularly good Oscar season at that. The 10 films that have been nominated for best picture in this year's academy awards ceremony range between good (The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right) and great (the rest), meaning that film buffs have been blessed with – and, for a while at least, will continue to be blessed with - an impressive selection of quality movies to check out at their local cinema.

The thing with Oscar-worthy films, though, is that for every The Kings Speech, there is a Black Swan, Winter's Bone and 127 Hours. Or, to put it another way, while the Academy are more than willing to take in easily digestible, entertaining populist fare like The King Speech, you are just as likely to find much more challenging, often far bleaker films, such as Black Swan or Winter's Bone. As such, if you're in the mood for something to lift your spirits and to raise a few titters and if you've already already seen The Concert, Made in Dagenham and The King's Speech, you might suddenly find yourself quickly running short of options.

Just before you run off to see the middle-of-the-road superheroics of The Green Hornet or the flat-out rubbishness of The Tourist, though, you might be interested to know that there is one final chance at salvation: Morning Glory.

Now, no one in their right mind would ever dare to argue that Morning Glory is anything but fluff. It is slight, sentimental and silly and it has absolutely nothing to say about the human condition – certainly nothing of any real interest whatsoever. But, as Morning Glory quickly proves, maybe there's nothing wrong with a bit of good, old-fashioned fluff in your cinematic diet. Especially if the fluff in question is as well-handled, entertaining and flat-out joyful as it is here.

Not that the advertising campaign was much help. Morning Glory's poster – or worse, its trailer – would seem to suggest that the film is a mix of the cloyingly smug and the sickly sweet: a far too typical modern-day romcom, in other words. Within the first few minutes of the film, however, it becomes readily apparent that it has been grossly undersold by the advertising. It may be fluff but that's doesn't mean it has to be crap at the same time.

And, you know what, it didn't take much for it to rise above the usual muck that clogs up our local multiplexes. For a start, it has some wonderfully sharp (at times even brutally sardonic) dialogue that gives the film both a veneer of intelligence and some genuine, honest-to-goodness laughs. The people who deliver the dialogue though, are the film's greatest boon. While a lot of credit has got to go to Aline Brosh McKenna for coming up with so witty a script and to director, Roger Michell for keeping control on a film that could so easily have flown off the handle, Morning Glory's greatest strength is its three lead actors – as well as some excellent supporting turns from Patrick Wilson and, most especially, the always awesome Jeff Goldblum.

Diane Keaton can be a bit of a variable comedic actress but she's on fine form here, especially when trading barbs with Harrison Ford. Ford, meanwhile, is sublime in what is easily his best role in years. Focusing all the gruffness and grumpiness that he has become known for over the years into this single character, he has created what is essentially his Denny Crane. As Denny Crane is to Captain James T Kirk, so Mike Pomeroy is to Indiana Jones. It's an inspired bit of casting and Ford provides much of the film's biggest laughs.

Less show-stealing but just as important to the film's success is Rachel McAdams. Aside for being beautiful, she does have a genuine charm and charisma that makes her such a wonderful actress and screen presence and that has never been more obvious than it is here. She plays a character that could so easily have been unbearably unlikeable in her perky, quirky demeanour in the hands of certain other actresses but she makes turns her into the true heart of the film and a character that you can't help but like and root for.                  

Obviously, if you can only see one new release this weekend, it has to be The King's Speech, which is indeed incredible, but if you have the time and the spare cash, do give Morning Glory a shot – it may well surprise you.

A good, old-fashioned piece of cinematic fluff that boasts intelligence and some genuine, honest-to-goodness laughs.

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