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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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James Oldo: You’ve heard rags-to-riches stories. Today, we celebrate the reverse. 
<p>James of Oldo was born into a well-to-do family near Milan in 1364. He married a woman who, like him, appreciated the comforts that came with wealth. But an outbreak of plague drove James, his wife and their three children out of their home and into the countryside. Despite those precautions, two of his daughters died from the plague, James determined to use whatever time he had left to build up treasures in heaven and to build God’s realm on earth. </p><p>He and his wife became Secular Franciscans. James gave up his old lifestyle and did penance for his sins. He cared for a sick priest, who taught him Latin. Upon the death of his wife, James himself became a priest. His house was transformed into a chapel where small groups of people, many of them fellow Secular Franciscans, came for prayer and support. James focused on caring for the sick and for prisoners of war. He died in 1404 after contracting a disease from one of his patients. </p><p>James Oldo was beatified in 1933.</p> American Catholic Blog Charity for the poor is like a living flame: the more dry the wood, the brighter it burns.


 
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