"I'm not saying the word fluffy."
DayBreak, the morning show from the fictional network IBS, is like the last kid picked in gym class: ugly, bumbling and unpopular. Their workstations are disheveled, the staff a ragtag bunch of misfits. DayBreak struggles to combat the massive forces of its bigger brothers. It continually loses out on the finest crop of guests. MORNING GLORY is an underdog story on more than one level.
Becky Fuller is a young professional. She is full of energy like the moon comes out at night--it goes without saying. When applying for the executive producer position at IBS, she wows Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) with her résumé and her pith. How could anyone say no to this woman?
Canadian Rachel McAdams has become America's sweetheart. It's impossible not to fall in love with her. Her circumstances hit home; after expecting a promotion early on at a small New Jersey faction, she is instead fired. Her confidence has taken a hit--even her mother says it's time to give up and move on. (This was an exchange that didn't sit well with me. The mom suggests Becky give up on her dream. Later in the film after she has seen a significant taste of success we see Mrs. Fuller taping a newspaper clipping of her daughter's acclaim, wearing a warm smile. This forced relationship feels unnecessary.)
Her first day on the job is appropriately a hectic one. A great exchange occurs at a table sitting as the team discusses future programming. Becky appears overwhelmed, only to counter with exact and spot on responses. Throughout the weeks she grows up at the workplace: a change in demeanor and hairstyle signify her maturity.
Harrison Ford is a refreshing presence onscreen, which is to say he doesn't give a damn. I'm kidding of course. Mostly. Ford's Mike Pomeroy is a legend in the journalism field. He's won the Pulitzer, multiple Peabody's. Any distinction for covering the news, Pomeroy has secured it, and he'll tell anyone who listens. He is crotchety and a little washed up. He's also the third worst person in the world. It's hard to picture anyone else for this character, and I imagine Ford had a great time with it. Whether through his refusal to banter along with Diane Keaton on air, his curious love of frittatas, or poking Becky with his African rain stick, Ford is at his naturally cantankerous best.
There are some genuine laugh out loud moments. Mostly from Matt Malloy who plays weatherman and later whipping boy Ernie Appleby. After ratings are down, Becky throws caution to the wind and Appleby into the fire by making him ride coasters, skydive, be a passenger in a fighter jet--anything for a boost.
Becky and Mike can relate because each is what the other needs. She requires a credible face that will bring viewers to her lagging show. In turn, she provides him with a creative outlet after being let go from more prestigious works. Director Roger Mitchell, who was behind the camera for 1999's NOTTING HILL, once agains helms a story that is sweet, but never too much as to rot your teeth. Becky sacrifices her personal life and health for the good of IBS. There are times when MORNING inches to full-blown melodramatic--right when it teeters near the edge, Harrison Ford returns it to its snappy and highly entertaining best.