What does this poster (snapped at the corner of Sixth Ave. and 57th Street about an hour ago) say above and beyond everything else? Answer: “This is a comfort movie about charming people with snappy repartee and big incomes, aimed at over-25 couples and women attending in groups of three and four. We will not surprise you — honest. And we probably won’t touch you that deeply, if at all. But you’ll laugh here and there, and have a moderately good time.
“What you can totally count on and take to the bank is that every last element in this film will be dead-ass familiar. And if we have anything else up our sleeve, we’re keeping it hidden for fear of discouraging ticket sales.”
In other words, Morning Glory (Paramount, 11.12) is about a youngish, super-smart TV morning-show producer (Rachel McAdams) grappling with a pair of bickering boomer co-hosts (Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton) over the tone and content of the show. Hopefully a bit more in the tradition of Broadcast News than Switching Channels with a little The Devil Wears Prada (i.e., Ford as Miranda) meets Working Girl seasoning. Or something like that. With Patrick Wilson as the proverbial peripheral domestic boyfriend who doesn’t do or say very much except listen to McAadam’s stories about what happened today at the studio.
Another simplistic equation would be to call it (a) a 2010 chick-flick aesthetic delivered by (b) a politically planted chick-formula screenwriter in the form of Aline Brosh McKenna (Prada, Laws of Attraction, 27 Dresses) and (c) massaged by the proficient but modified high-tonality of Roger Michell (Venus, Enduring Love, Changing Lanes, Notting Hill) in Nancy Meyers mode. Oh, well — at least it has Jeff Goldbum as an office smart-ass.
Showeast guy to TheWrap‘s Steve Pond in a 10.18 story: “I was surprised I liked it as much as I did, and most people seemed to feel the same way”…”it’s close to James L. Brooks territory, or to the border between Brooks and Nancy Meyers“…”very commercial, and the best use of Harrison Ford in a very long time”…”solid entertainment that in November will appeal to the over-30 audience in a way that nothing else will”…”not really an awards movie, although Harrison Ford has an outside chance.”
The only “what?” is this being a Bad Robot/J.J. Abrams production. Paramount producer: “We can’t let this thing get too rote or stodgy. We’ll all have to commit ritual seppuku if this turns into Switching Channels so how do we guard against this? Wait…JJ Abrams! He could broaden his sphere a bit by producing this. Climb out of that Mission Impossible/Cloverfield/Star Trek monster rut he’s been in. What’s his number?”
I like this kind of movie in theory, but you and I know it’s not going to be Broadcast News. You can, you can tell…you can tell. For guys like me walking around the mall and wondering what to see at the plex, the mantra to keep in mind is “be afraid, be very afraid, of Aline Brosh McKenna.” But maybe with Abrams presumably looking to contain her chick-flick instincts (or head them off at the pass), there’s hope.