I kick started Good Movie Season last Saturday with an early screening of "Morning Glory," the latest film from director Roger Mitchell ("Notting Hill"), which stars Rachel McAdams ("Mean Girls," "The Notebook") as Becky Fuller, an infinitely positive, endlessly hardworking television news producer desperate to save a last-place morning show.
"Morning Glory" begins as "DayBreak," a fledgling network morning show, hires an untested young producer (McAdams) in a last-ditch effort to boost its dismal ratings. Becky shakes things up on her first day by firing the show's creepy co-host (Ty Burrell, "Morning Family"). After offering mild consideration to a slew of seemingly worthy replacements, Becky decides that hiring semi-retired evening news legend Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) will turn the show around. After Pomeroy initially scoffs at the idea, Becky finds a special stipulation in his contract that says he has to accept her offer or risk losing a huge sum of money. With no other choice, Pomeroy accepts. As the crusty old newsman and his faux-perky co-anchor (Diane Keaton) butt heads and the ratings continue to crumble, Becky proposes a no-holds-barred approach to the morning show. While most of her staff is game, it's the stubborn Pomeroy that won't give an inch.
Without a doubt, "Morning Glory" is McAdams' movie. Her portrayal of Becky is absolutely winning. She can be both tough as nails and soft like butter, often at the same time. Even amidst a cast of wonderful actors, McAdams soars. In one scene in which the seemingly unshakeable Becky witnesses something truly surprising, McAdams' reaction is so fine that to call it 'perfect' would be a demotion.
In addition to McAdams, Diane Keaton is brilliant as the show's unshakeable co-anchor. Her willingness to kiss frogs, sumo wrestle sumo wrestlers and rap alongside 50 Cent for the sake of the team are truly fun to watch. And once her self-centeredness and insecurity are wiped away, she's truly fun to like.
Also, keep an eye out for John Pankow as Lenny Bergman, Becky's loveable sidekick. Their interactions are truly sweet.
Though it won't take long after the lights have dimmed to figure out how "Morning Glory" will end, it's still a worthy watch. After all, nobody rides a roller coaster for the ending. The joy is in the journey.