Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams star in Morning Glory - an 'uplifting' comedy about erections set to the music of Oasis. Oh okay, that's not true. We'll leave the crude opening monologues to Ricky Gervais from now on. In actual fact, the movie deals with an ailing and lacklustre breakfast TV show called Daybreak that desperately needs to improve its dwindling ratings. That's a very plausible scenario - as anyone who has switched on ITV on a weekday morning recently will know. Fortunately, art doesn't completely imitate life, as the film that emerges is packed full of sharp one-liners, amusing scenarios and performances from the leads that are both humorous and sympathetic.
McAdams is in infectious form as Becky, the TV producer recruited by the disparaging boss Jerry (Goldblum) to take charge of Daybreak. A quick revamp ensues, leaving presenter Colleen (Keaton) in need of a new leading man. Becky learns that award-winning broadcaster Mike Pomeroy (Ford) can be contractually forced to take on the role, although nothing can quite prepare her for how contemptuous he is towards the light-hearted elements of breakfast television. It's not long before tempers flare between the Daybreak hosts, while Becky faces a tough time trying to raise both the ratings and her fairly nondescript new amour Adam's (Wilson) hormone levels.
Over the years, brilliant sitcoms like Drop The Dead Donkey and 30 Rock have mined the vast pits of bizarre and cutting humour that stem from the barmy backstage world of a television show. Thanks to its largely energetic and witty script from The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna, Morning Glory recalls these shows. The embittered verbal tirades unleashed by Pomeroy are often hysterically funny, especially given Ford's seething yet calm delivery. It's also superb to witness the duality of the fictional legend Pomeroy and the real-life legend Ford tackle the inanity of the material dished up by the autocue. After all, it's not every day you see the man who portrayed dashing heroes like Indiana Jones and Hans Solo looking down the camera at you saying stuff like: "... And when we're back we'll tell you new ways to cope with the menopause."
The casting directors of Morning Glory deserve major credit for the pairings on offer, which enable plenty of sharp two-handed exchanges. Ford and Keaton excel as the bickering veteran anchors, often firing off barbs at each other on and off the air. The latter also features in a distinctly surreal rapping session with 50 Cent! The bubbly optimism exuded by Rachel McAdams also forms fine contrasts with the disdainful approach taken by Ford and the cynical nature of Goldblum's character.
In many respects, McAdams functions as the glue that enables the movie to be a cohesive entity, as she excels as the comic foil and carves out a heroine that we can root for. She handles the slapstick moments well, although their inclusion do threaten to turn Becky into one of those clumsy and ditzy rom-com leads who can't negotiate a door without yanking off a handle or banging her head while opening it. Fortunately, the 'rom' part of the rom-com is rarely foregrounded in the plot, with the fairly mundane antics between Becky and Adam serving as an unwanted (but brief) distraction, rather than grinding the momentum to a halt.
Behind the frivolity of this rom-com also lurks a serious theme about the importance of proper old-school journalism, making a similar point to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - albeit in a totally different form that uses laughter as the vehicle. Morning Glory's humour and subject matter should be well suited to British audiences, who will hopefully give this thoroughly entertaining movie a chance. It's certainly a better bet than the real-life Daybreak...
> What do you think of the movie? Share your views