One is pretty dull, cheesy, corny and doesn't bring anything new to the screen whatsoever, in fact for some of the actors involved it's painful and embarrassing. The other is exciting, laugh out loud funny, and really does hook you in. Can you guess which is which?
It's a surprise to believe that Morning Glory wouldn't hit the mark with the list of names acting in the film, Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, Jeff Goldblum, Rachel McAdams, Patrick Wilson and John Pankow, and even the trailers suggested that there could be a lot of fun in them, and there's Roger Michell directing from a script by Aline Brosh McKenna.
Slowly it started to get to me, very gently at first, with Rachel McAdams' character and performance the first thing to start winning me over, and then the comedy took hold and the scene in the lift with the line from Patrick Wilson about the lift buttons and then the embarrassing moment with Harrison Ford's character, I realised I was getting drawn in.
The story of Morning Glory sees McAdams playing a producer on a small television show struggling for ratings. She's been working there for ages and suddenly it seems as though she's getting noticed, getting a break and being promoted to Executive Producer. Unfortunately she's not and she gets made redundant. Queue montage of her trying to find a job, a queasy, cheesy montage that dulls the senses.
She gets an offer from a major television network who has a failing morning television show that no one wants to work on and with a team so difficult to work with that Executive Producers have been rolling out the doors. They're so desperate that they give her a chance to run the show and just keep it going, and as soon as she's in the door she starts making her mark.
At the same time she meets another producer of a different show and the romance starts to blossom with her own problems with self belief and confidence standing in the way.
Her plans to build the show up take a huge leap forward when she manages to secure the talents of one of the most respected newsmen of all the networks. Stuck in a contract he can't get out of for another year, she uses a clause to get him on the morning show, and he hates it.
This is where the real strength of the film comes in, the battling of the anchorman, against the light hearted entertainment show, and the Executive Producer trying to bring them all together.
The film works best here and provides the biggest draw, the side story of the romance between the two producers is at times distracting and takes from the main story. It does serve a purpose, but it just feels as though it doesn't fit and when it does take over the screen it's just the same as every other romantic story on the planet. Patrick Wilson does look good and has a few nice moments, but he's really utterly lost on this film and is there just for the lead to bounce some lines off of.
It's a shame that the writing seemed so lax on some of these sequences and yet was so sharp on the rest of the film. It really comes to the fore during the scenes when they are live on the show, fast paced, pulling in all the characters and building on the fantastic dynamic of Harrison Ford's character and his disgust and hatred for the show he's on, battling against McAdams Executive Producer and the co-anchor of Diane Keaton.
There are some great moments on the show between these characters and Harrison Ford gives a performance that is far from the ones we've grown used to of late with much less mumbling and a lot more performance. There's a lot more heart and animation in this character, and he's not only compelling and entertaining, but he also offers some depth. His dialogue and timing is excellent, and he steals the show with two key moments for his character, after his big story and when he finally realises what's happening around him.
Rachel McAdams is really good and like a lot of her performances she's very believable and is great to watch, she's such an expressive actress, and here she really does perform her character. For the best example of this watch the awkward scene where she walks into Wilson's office to apologise for running out on him in the bar the night before, not only does she deal with the mobile and the bags, but when she sits down her posturing and arm waving really capture her character.
Diane Keaton is a little wasted in the film, although she does have some great moments and lines, she's definitely not as wasted as Patrick Wilson and the great character that Jeff Goldblum plays for less than a minute. There's a similar waste with the relationship between the Executive Producer and her producing partner played by John Pankow, again there's a lot hinted at there, much more than with the Goldblum character, but it's just not explored. If only that romantic thread had been dropped.
Morning Glory seems to struggle between two films, trying to grab two audiences, one of the standard romantic comedy chick flicks, and the other being a rather funny and well written comedy about a struggling television show with a great relationship portrayed between McAdams and Ford.
There's plenty of wasted opportunity with Goldblum, Keaton and Wilson, but the most wasted is the screen time of the romantic thread which could have been devoted more to Ford, McAdams, Keaton and the television show itself.
However the film shines when the television show plot line takes centre stage, and at times you will be laughing out loud as well as being slightly moved by some of the turns in the story. So despite the negatives, it's worth seeing for these moments which will lift you up, and the romance side isn't offence, just a waste.