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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Morning Glory

By
John P. McCarthy
Source: Catholic News Service


Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford star in "Morning Glory."
It's no surprise that the newsroom comedy "Morning Glory" (Paramount) brings to mind the classic sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the 1987 feature film "Broadcast News." Both were created by James L. Brooks, who wasn't involved in this project but whose influence is keenly felt.

While "Morning Glory" lacks the sharp wit of "Broadcast News," the modest success of this screwball, working-girl comedy can be attributed to the portrayal of the central character, Becky Fuller, by Canadian actress Rachel McAdams. Miss Fuller sparkles as a worthy big-screen successor to that iconic Twin Cities' newswoman, Ms. Mary Richards.

After being fired for budgetary reasons from a local morning show in New Jersey, 28-year-old Becky lands a job in Manhattan as the executive producer of "Daybreak," the struggling morning offering of a national network.

Preternaturally vivacious and enthusiastic, Becky is extremely capable, despite coming across as slightly ditzy. Tasked with reviving the under-budgeted, perpetually ridiculed program, she arranges for venerable reporter Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to assume co-anchor duties alongside Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton).

Thanks to McAdams, who has received strong notices for her work in movies such as "Mean Girls" and "The Notebook," "Morning Glory" has an appealing glow without ever achieving comedic glory.

With Ford and Keaton tending to growl and grimace without much conviction, there's significant pressure on McAdams to carry the film, just as there is on Becky to salvage "Daybreak." The key is that she never makes Becky's verve seem like "repellant moxie," despite Mike's initially harsh assessment to that effect.

Becky's optimism and can-do spirit is the most salubrious aspect of "Morning Glory." Her adeptness at playing hardball with colleagues when necessary proves she's no Pollyanna, however; likewise her morally unacceptable decision to sleep with fellow producer Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson).

Unfortunately, Aline Brosh McKenna's script ultimately sides with fluff over substance given that Becky's mission becomes persuading dinosaur Mike to relax his standards. Unfortunately, her philosophy that "no story is too high or too low to reach for" is borne out as the movie gently mocks then ultimately celebrates the public's assumed preference for light fare over hard news.

In addition to leaning on the talents of his versatile star, director Robert Michell ("Notting Hill") lets music and montages do most of the storytelling. The dialogue is sprinkled throughout with ribald remarks that—along with that unseen coupling—make "Morning Glory" acceptable only for mature audiences.

The film contains nongraphic sexual activity, an off-screen encounter, several uses of profanity, two instances of rough language, much crude and crass talk, numerous scatological and sexual references and a drug reference. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
______________________________
John P. McCarthy is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.


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Joan of Arc: 
		<p>Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.</p>
		<p>Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux (southeast of Paris), Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Sts. Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.</p>
		<p>During the Hundred Years War, she led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, she was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men's clothes. The English resented France's military success–to which Joan contributed. </p>
		<p>On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.</p>
		<p>Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life "offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action" because her spiritual insight is that there should be a "unity of heaven and earth."</p>
		<p>Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas, and movies. </p>
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