I can't say I'm usually one for the "chick flick," but I actually do enjoy a good romantic comedy. Unfortunately, what has gone down in history as one of my least favorite romantic "comedies" of all time was directed by a man named Roger Michell. Notting Hill was mostly unfunny and depressing as the romantic aspects of the movie seemed to drag the main character's heart through the mud more than anything. That was 1999. Michell returns to the romantic comedy this year with Morning Glory, a completely different kind of film for the director, taking a look at the life of an ambitious TV show executive-producer-to-be who has devoted her entire life to her career. Played by the versatile Rachel McAdams, Becky Fuller then finds a new job at fictional TV station IBS ("IBS"... really?!), working to resurrect a dying morning show called "Daybreak." The show's famed co-host is none other than the feisty diva Colleen Peck, played by Diane Keaton, while Fuller decides to pull a former evening news anchor out of retirement for the show, played quite crotchety by the aging Harrison Ford. The movie tries to be a lot of things and the end result feels like a very mixed bag of romance, comedy and drama, but Michell does a fair job with mixing the genres up.
The comedic tone of the movie works pretty well. Michell chose to give the film less of the colorful, glowing, warm feel that most comedies - especially romantic ones - go for and has opted for more of the cooler, gray colors that New York City and corporate America life can seem to display. It tends to ground the scenes a bit more in real life -- especially as opposed to the more sunny and vibrant representations of similar settings in other news anchor comedies like Bruce Almighty and Anchorman. Diane Keaton is good as the demanding and self-centered Colleen Peck, being almost entirely unlikable in the film, while Harrison Ford has his common so-grumpy-he's-a-jerk persona but remains somewhat charming at times. Granted, I've been a fan of watching Harrison Ford do what he does best since first seeing him in Star Wars as a youngster, but Ford surprisingly brings a lot more to this role than he has in other more recent roles. He was very good earlier in this year's Extraordinary Measures, but he manages to bring more humor and class to this grumpier old man kind of role. McAdams is cute and high strung as the ambitious working girl here, although her character's enthusiasm and dedication to her work is almost exhausting at times (something the characters around her often draw attention to as well). The film gives McAdams and Ford some great moments on screen together, with a wonderful scene in the movie's finale that is a bit surprising and rewarding at the same time. Patrick Wilson, who was both in this summer's A-Team big screen adaptation and starred alongside Jennifer Aniston in The Switch, is a harmless love interest for McAdams' character in Morning Glory, but their relationship seems maybe too much underwritten and just present for romance-sake. And while it will likely appeal to the female audiences, their relationship is mostly stereotypical and predictable. And of course, the story has them go right down the road to the physical side fairly quickly after admitting feelings for each other -- a frequent trait of the romantic genre that never ceases to irritate me.
The offensive content of Morning Glory consists mostly of sexual jokes and related dialog, as well as some making out between McAdams' and Wilson's characters (with intentions for them to go all the way, but they're interrupted by work). Also, the language is pretty rough for a PG-13 film. Diane Keaton utters the only complete "F" word in the film, while an intoxicated Ford doesn't finish a "motherf..." and the show's weatherman is heard screaming the "F" word long and drawn out so it's not so recognizable about three times during rollercoaster and skydiving clips. In addition to those, there are a slew of other profanities, including blasphemy, sprinkled throughout the entire film. It did bring the movie experience for me down some - not to mention some sexual dialog and jokes that weren't necessary and felt out of place at times. Lastly, there's a scene where Adam and Becky talk about taking things slow and then it cuts to them comically making out quite passionately, with her taking off her skirt to reveal her butt in panties as she falls down on top of him on the couch. They intend to go further but the scene ends before anything happens. In a later scene, Becky and Adam make out again and her carries her off to the bedroom. We then see him wake up in bed in the middle of the night expecting to find her next to him, but finds her instead watching TV and working, while just wearing an under shirt.
As a story, Morning Glory is an entertaining one. The cards are stacked against the ambitious Becky Fuller, so it becomes quite a challenge for her to not only try to make a name for herself in the business, but save a failing morning show. There ends up being a really great scene between Ford and McAdams where he encourages her not to lose her life to her work -- something I'm afraid a lot of people struggle with (balancing a personal life and relationships with a career). Unfortunately, that theme might get lost in the jumble of crude jokes and coarse words. Ford is a highlight of Morning Glory, though, and McAdams does a good job carrying it along. Michell assembled an all-star cast and it did strengthen the end result.
As a romantic comedy, Morning Glory doesn't feel like a "chick flick" first and foremost (like McAdams' other outings, including The Notebook and The Time Traveler's Wife) and it does offer a little something for everyone. Sure, it sticks pretty closely to the romantic comedy formula, but there are enough differences and "surprises" along the way to keep things fun and interesting. Unfortunately, crude dialog and "romance" scenes that seem to skip the romance and go straight for the physical dumb the movie down some and hinder its enjoyment. It's more a film geared for adults, but light on the wholesome content. So if you're intrigued at all by the premise or cast in Moring Glory, you might be better off waiting until it hits TV sometime.
- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 12/3/10)
Blu-Ray Special Features Review
The Blu-Ray release of Morning Glory offers a great high definition transfer of the film for home viewing. Unfortunately, the BD is extremely thin on special features. In addition to a feature-length commentary from the film's director and writer, the BD only includes one deleted scene (but no previews, no trailers, no behind-the-scenes featurettes... nothing else).
Commentary by Director Roger Michell and Writer Aline Brosh McKenna - Since the commentary is really the only significant bonus feature, it's the only source for behind-the-scenes info about Morning Glory. Since director Roger Mitchell and writer Aline Brosh McKenna provide the commentary, they offer interesting insights on the production and writing of the film - like how Harrison Ford came in to meet with them about the part while dressed as Indiana Jones (apparently it was during the production of Krystal Skull years ago) or how Jeff Goldblum's role was written just for him before he was even attached to the project. Fans of the film will especially want to check this out.
Deleted Scene: Shampoo Bottles HD - The single deleted scene is taken from before Ford's character Mike comes into the picture and it's the full brief segment of the Daybreak show that's only shown partially on a monitor in the finished film. It's pretty disposable and not really necessary to have been included.
Morning Glory was more enjoyable with the second viewing, with some great moments from Ford and McAdams, but edgy PG-13 romantic comedy content weighs it down a bit. Still, you could certainly do worse for romantic comedies, and Morning Glory offers some good laughs for fans of any of the cast.
- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 3/8/11)
Parental Guide: Brief Summary of Content
Sex/Nudity: Becky's coworkers give her a gift and Becky says that it better not be "another box of condoms" and then adds that she hasn't even used the other one yet; Colleen's co-anchor McVee turns out to be a real creep when he compliments Becky on her feet and asks if he can photograph them for his "sexy feet blog." She declines and when he shows up late to a staff meeting and complains that he left some website about "banging grannies," Becky fires him; Mike makes a comment that he could have had hookers in his contract at the time in his career when he could have had anything; Mike makes a comment about Colleen's pap smear video; Becky jokes to Adam that she can't tell when a man is interested in her until his pants come off; We see Adam and Becky making out around his house and she takes off her skirt so she's down to just her panties (which show a lot of her butt) and her shirt (Adam is fully clothed). They fall on the couch but it all stops when they're interruped by work. She then dashes out, nearly forgetting she left her skirt on the floor; Becky and Mike show up late to work and it's revealed that she stayed at his place. She says it wasn't like that and Mike adds that she slept on the couch until he woke her up with his African rainstick -- which he really did, but he says it to sound suggestive; On the news, Mike reports about a sex offender and a drawing of the offender is shown with the words "Sex Offender" beneath it. But when Mike starts talking about Jimmy Carter in an unrelated story, the picture changes to Jimmy but not the caption, which still said "Sex Offender" (much to the horror of Becky and the others); Adam and Becky passionately kiss and he carries her off to the bedroom. The scene ends there and then shows him shirtless in bed, waking up in the middle of the night to find that she's in the other room working; Mike comments to Becky that he thought Adam was only interested in tall women with big chests (and he and Becky both make a gesture in front of them for large breasts); Mike makes a remark about others wanting him to "peddle erectile dysfunction" on the show; When Becky asks who an annoying and ditzy reporter is sleeping with to even get on the show, Lenny points upstairs. Becky later tells her boss Jerry to move her to another show and have her read a dictionary; While Mike is being difficult about his script on the show, Colleen complains that she's had to use "rectal" and "moisture" in the same sentence on the air. Mike then mocks her by saying first dates can be hard; While blowing up at Mike, Becky tells him that she's finally found someone who can stand her long enough to have sex with her (meaning Adam); We see the weatherman bent over getting a tattoo on his bare rear, but we never see his rear or any nudity; Adam sarcastically suggests to Becky that they do an eight-part series about "the orgasm" and she, thinking he's series, asks what more they could do about the subject; While Mike is accusing a governor of several crimes, he mentions something about his involvement with a hooker; While talking about a recipe, Mike states that he learned about it while spending a "naked weekend" with an unnamed Italian actress; We see Becky putting her phone in the fridge so she and Adam won't be disturbed; We see Mike ushering Colleen into an office with a smirk on her face (hinting at their intentions); As the movie ends, we hear Mike tell Becky that he will be going to get his prostate checked and wanted to bring a crew. She loves the idea and he insists he was joking. She tries to change his mind and asks if he would consider a body double and he refuses.
1 "f" word," and about 3 "f" words started and drawn out while a man is screaming (first on a rollercoaster, then skydiving). Plus an incompleted "those motherf..."; 16 "s" words, 1 "g-dd-mn," 9 "a" words, 4 "a--h*le," 5 "J-sus," 9 "h*ll," 3 "d*mn," 1 "b*tch," 3 "cr*p," 4 "Chr-st," 8 derivatives of "G*d" (like "Oh my G-d" and "Oh, G-d")
A joke is made about whoever approved something must have been smoking crack. Mike makes a sarcastic remark that at one time he could have had hookers and "eight balls" written into his contract (drugs); Adam talks about going out with coworkers drinking; We see Adam and coworkers at a bar called Liquor Bar; Becky and Adam have drinks in a bar; We see Becky meeting Adam at a bar again; Adam remarks about Mike getting drunk in the past; Becky finds Mike drinking in his office and appearing intoxicated; Adam tells Becky that Mike used to go on drinking binges and calling out sick the next day, so Becky bar-hops to find Mike and finds him drinking in a bar
There are brief mentions of some violent news reports, including a sexual offender; We see Mike out hunting and shoots a bird
** Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not on content. However, if the content
really affects the reviewer's opinion of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's rating.