I managed to actually fit in some movie viewings with the wife over the course of the last few days despite a pretty hectic schedule. I’ve seemed to have found more things to do in less time as of late, so I was very excited to sit down and watch just about anything that could be put in the BluRay player. The movie of the night was Morning Glory, a romantic comedy that revolves around a young, budding cable news producer (Rachel McAdams) who tries to take the unlikely pair of journalists (Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford) and turn their failing morning show and make it a network hit. Start to finish this film brings the typical “rom com” twists and turns but I was more interested in what the film really had to say.
I started realizing early on that on surface level, Morning Glory is your standard, space filling romantic comedy complete with a few scenes that remind guys that were drug along for the show that Rachel McAdams really isn’t too hard on the eyes. The almost cookie cutter love story about a girl who works too much and is awkward around the guy she likes is a fluff piece that doesn’t really gain any traction. McAdams, while playing the role well, just didn’t quite fit the bill for me. In fact much of the film I kept thinking this was the one role that Katherine Heigl let slip away. The work obsessed, power hungry woman who just is so darn awkward around guys is the type of role she loves to play; She has to be kicking herself for not taking this role to expand her acting niche. The good news is for us as viewers is that McAdams is lovable for both sexes. Girls can talk about how cute she is and how they can “totally” relate, and guys can stare at the screen with out wanting to punch the female lead in the face. (Don’t agree? Find me a Katherine Heigl movie where you don’t want to punch her for being irritating….I’ll wait.)
Diane Keaton seems to be having fun as the aging media diva who is slowly learning to accept her reality in the cable news doldrums, and Harrison Ford continues his streak of not really making an outstanding film since the 90’s. Ford plays a callous, boring, “serious” journalist who is stuck on the show against his will, each day counting the days until completion of his contract. Ford really doesn’t put out an outstanding performance, but I found myself chuckling at many of his scenes. Whether you find Ford’s acting good or bad in this film, he’s the perfect grouchy character you love to hate and then love again.
Where Morning Glory really threw me for a loop was the not so subtle commentary it was making on the news industry. Ford’s character, a man who wanted to deliver “hard news”, is constantly being pushed aside for fluff pieces on kittens, cooking and over the top stunts that will generate YouTube views. He is constantly complaining about the decline of news. Ford crankily points out that McAdams and producers like her are ruining the news, and the film seems to take great pleasure in pointing out how silly the cranky old man is for saying such. Morning Glory seems to make sure you leave the film thinking, “News should be fun!” and “Fluff pieces make up news!” There is a time and place for light stories and fun. However, journalists that constantly revolve around such a machine quickly find that journalistic integrity goes out the window. I look at the state of current “news” and all I see is celeb gossip, puff pieces and slanted journalism regardless of the channel. The days of cold hard facts in the news are gone. Everyone has an angle, every one wants ratings and we the people suffer for it. Films like Morning Glory seem to playfully poke fun at the news of old and ask us to embrace the new sugary sweet news of today.
By the time the credits had rolled, I found myself at a crossroads. I really didn’t think I enjoyed the message that the film ultimately portrayed about journalism and the news system, and I had just watched a romantic comedy that really brought little to the table. Despite all of that, Morning Glory had its moments of fun. I laughed a few times, got to see the great Jeff Goldblum on screen for a few minutes and stay in for a nice evening with the wife. Will I ever own Morning Glory on DVD or BluRay? No. Do I feel horrible for using a $1 Redbox Rental on it? The answer is still no. Here’s to a film that is about as forgettable and fluffy as our current daily news cycle, Morning Glory.