Yesterday’s N.Y. Times included a profile of Morning Glory star Rachel McAdams by ex-People critic Leah Rozen. The headline says “An Actress On The Brink of a Blockbuster.” Right away you’re thinking, “Wait…the Times is suggesting that Morning Glory will be a blockbuster?” Because Rozen’s story doesn’t even hint at that possibility. Not even in a roundabout game-of-chance sense.
Rozen reports that McAdams is a sincerely admired, greatly talented and versatile actress. And that Morning Glory is “a comedy,” even though it’s more of a spirited, occasionally amusing fast-lane survival story. The “hah-hah, that’s really funny” moments happen, but not all that frequently. Which is fine. It doesn’t need to be a “comedy.” I was surprised and pleased after seeing it last Thursday morning. It’s a first-rate, highly intelligent mainstream confection.
Rozen explains that Morning Glory is about “a hotshot television producer who must rein in bickering anchors, played by Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford, while trying to increase ratings on a struggling morning news show.” This isn’t quite right either. It’s not so much that Keaton and Ford are “bickering”, but that McAdams and Ford are at loggerheads. McAdams has arm-twisted Ford, a Dan Rather-ish TV newsman, into co-hosting her morning show, and he’s repelled by the show’s cotton-candy countenance and won’t play ball and make with the amiable banter despite the fact that McAdams’ job and the continuance of the show hang in the balance.
Rozen also reports that McAdams is admired by director Roger Michell and by her costars Harrison Ford and Jeff Goldblum, and by critics like the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips. But the article doesn’t contain the slightest hint of approval or a qualitative assessment, even, for Morning Glory itself. So what blockbuster, exactly, is McAdams on the brink of?
“What McAdams is still missing is the breakout hit that will do for her what Pretty Woman did for Julia Roberts in 1990,” Rozen writes. Okay, then why run with a headline that says McAdams is, in fact, on the brink of this kind of success? What does the Times know that we don’t?
At the end of the piece Woody Allen, who’s directed McAdams in the forthcoming Midnight in Paris, says that “she’s going to make a fortune in this business, because there aren’t a lot of girls out there with that much sex appeal and beauty who can also be comic.” So McAdams is destined to be very wealthy — fine. But that’s not quite the same thing as being “on the brink of a blockbuster.”
McAdams is currently shooting (or is just about to shoot) Terrence Malick‘s super-secretive new film, which is being shot near Bartlesville, Oklahoma, with costar Ben Affleck. But Malick doesn’t make (and never will make) blockbusters so that’s obviously not the allusion either.
If anyone can figure this out, please get back to me.