I’m not saying the word fluffy!
When you hear the phrase ‘from the writer of “The Devil Wears Prada”…’ what exactly springs to mind?
Maybe you think about a work-obsessed female lead whose only real relationship has been with her email account. Maybe she has ulterior psychological needs/problems that force her into this potentially destructive personality trait? Maybe, just maybe though, there’s the perfect man out there who understands her need to feel validated and respected as a woman, yet simultaneously can provide her with protection and security? Maybe the whole thing is full of Natasha Bedingfield.
Welcome to the world of Aline Brosh McKenna, the successful American screenwriter behind such movie hits as “The Devil Wears Prada”, “27 Dresses” and the 2010 comedy (of which we are reviewing this afternoon) “Morning Glory”. No, not a story about daybreak-related physicality, “Morning Glory” actually concerns the dramatic world of morning television. Think GMTV but with more smiles and American accents. Sidestepping any serious comment on the nature of news or the ethical dilemmas faced by today’s journalists, ”Morning Glory” is an unashamedly feel-good fluff-fest. It also happens to be harmless, forgettable but a whole heap of fun.
The story is simple enough. Hard-working but slightly annoying late-twenties female (played by Anne Hathaway, no wait I mean Rachel McAdams) moves to New York to work in the high pressure world of fashion, no sorry, morning television. Her boss (Meryl Streep by way of Jeff Goldblum) is a bit of a hard ass, but thanks to her plucky spirit and determined mind she gets with James Marsden, no wait, turns around a failing programme. I really need to remember what happened in this film.
Enough jokes aside, “Morning Glory” does feel incredibly similar to McKenna’s previous work but that’s probably down to the fact that the success of “The Devil Wears Prada” meant that every other rom-com/com-dram since 2006 has followed the template laid out by it. We have the intense working environment, the stressed female protagonist, the gorgeous but understanding male companion (here played by Patrick Wilson) and all the other hallmarks. The reason that “Morning Glory” does stand out however is the two actors I have chosen to highlight with my still image.
Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton.
Without these two, “Morning Glory” would be probably rubbish. Don’t get me wrong, the cast is all fine but without the dynamic chemistry between these old pros it would fall flat. Keaton is a seasoned comic and lights up the screen. Whether she’s kissing frogs, or sumo-wrestling, she is a delight and instills an unmistakeable honesty to her character. Ford, as her gruff counterpart, pulls off one of his finest comedic performances ever and reminds us that he is actually a great actor. With moments of tenderness juxtaposed against biting wrath, he is a joy to watch and the reason “Morning Glory” manages to stay afloat.
Directed by Roger Michell (of “Notting Hill” fame) “Morning Glory” is elevated above a fairly average script by the performances of Keaton and Ford, transforming it into a bizarre retirement home rendition of “Anchorman”. It is undeniably popcorn, but thanks to those two, it is the sweetest kind.