Harrison Ford was deadpan amusing on Letterman Monday night, but reality may as well be faced: Morning Glory isn’t drawing universal hossanahs. And yet — and yet! — Salon‘s Andrew OHehir is totally down with it, and O’Hehir is no easy lay so put that in your pipe.
“Am I reading way too much symbolism and subtext into a brightly colored Hollywood comedy that rips off the Mary Tyler Moore Manhattan TV-girl story for about the 46th time?,” O’Hehir asks. “Maybe, kind of — but not really.
“Morning Glory is worth your attention amid the overcrowded fall movie calendar precisely because it was directed with love and imagination by Roger Michell, a talented British filmmaker who’s been kicking around the margins of the industry since he clicked with Notting Hill 11 years ago. This is a brash, lightweight backstage comedy that looks lovely, doesn’t insult its audience and uses its stars, both young and old, to terrific effect.
“Despite the presence of Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, who are highly enjoyable as the dueling co-hosts who represent Rachel McAdams’ hail-Mary attempt to save a morning infotainment show called ‘Daybreak,’ the movie belongs to McAdams.
:She’s gotten to stardom a bit late, given the pitiless march of time for women in Hollywood (McAdams turns 32 this month), but after Sherlock Holmes and The Time Traveler’s Wife, this skillful Canadian comedienne seems determined to make the most of it. I use that old-fashioned noun for a reason, since McAdams has clearly gone to school on some of the great comic actresses of film and TV history. It’s invidious to compare young women to Audrey Hepburn, but McAdams has a dash of Audreyness, to go along with doses of Lucille Ball, Doris Day and, let us note, one of the greatest of all graceful WASP klutzes in movie history, who happens to be her co-star herein.
“It takes impressive command of voice, body and demeanor to play a character who’s as awkward and tightly wound as Becky Fuller, and more still to make her seem appealing rather than scary or desperate. OK, she is a little desperate; after Becky gets cashiered at a second-rate local morning show in New Jersey, her mom (Patti D’Arbanville, very good in a teensy role) gently tells her that her long-standing dream to work at the Today show is on the rocks. When she finally gets an interview with a New York studio exec (the ever-wonderful Jeff Goldblum, who as usual nails every line without appearing to care), she pitches him with so much up-with-people, believe-in-me, spring-loaded force she virtually topples from her chair. ‘Are you going to sing now?’ Goldblum asks.
“Indeed, McAdams is so much fun to watch it almost wouldn’t matter what happens in the movie, but Michell and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) keep the pretty pictures, the R-rated dialogue and the backstage histrionics coming fast and furious.”