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Morning Glory DVD Review

Morning Glory (2010) movie poster Morning Glory

Theatrical Release: November 10, 2010 / Running Time: 107 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Roger Michell / Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna / Songs List

Cast: Rachel McAdams (Becky Fuller), Harrison Ford (Mike Pomeroy), Diane Keaton (Colleen Peck), Patrick Wilson (Adam Bennett), Jeff Goldblum (Jerry Barnes), John Pankow (Lenny Bergman), Matt Malloy (Ernie Appleby), Patti D'Arbanville (Becky's Mom), J. Elaine Marcos (Lisa Bartlett), Ty Burrell (Paul McVee), Reed Birney (Governor Gary Willis), Adrian Martinez (IBS Lobby Guard), Rosalynd Darling (Daybreak Fan on Plaza), Noah Bean (First Date), Don Hewitt, Sr. (Joe the Cameraman), Kevin Pariseau (Horse Teeth Reporter - Frank Frelier), Chris Sieber (Groundhog Reporter - Jeremy Lee), Elaine Kaufman (Herself), Bob Schieffer (Himself), Morley Safer (Himself), Chris Matthews (Himself), Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson (Himself)

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For Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams), the protagonist of Morning Glory, the day begins in the middle of the night, ends around most people's suppertime, and rarely includes a thought that doesn't involve her job. Becky is the producer of "Good Morning, New Jersey", a local news/talk show that airs live weekdays at 4 AM and her life doesn't extend much further than that. Believing a promotion to senior producer is all but official, she excitedly enters a meeting, only to get fired.
Crushed, Becky immediately begins a frantic search for new employment, resending her resume, following through on offers, and pouring out her heart in an interview.

Though that last tactic especially feels futile, it gets her hired as an executive producer at "Daybreak", the long-running but lowly-rated series at fictional network IBS (whose call letters seem to be an unmentioned joke). The work there is challenging but it's exactly what Becky wants to tackle, and so she does, replacing a fetishy anchor (a briefly-seen but amusing Ty Burrell of "Modern Family") with IBS' highly-decorated and recently-fired nightly news reporter Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford). A misanthropic prima donna, Pomeroy wants no part of the accepted frivolity of morning television and only accepts the position to protect his multi-million dollar contract with the network.

While trying to smooth relations between egotistical Pomeroy and his feisty co-anchor Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) and ensure that "Daybreak" has enough worthwhile content to fill the air, Becky gets word from her wry boss (Jeff Goldblum) that the program's low ratings are finally getting it cancelled in just a few weeks. She vows to turn the show around and he agrees that that the kind of viewership increase she promises could extend the institution's life. With that, Becky is determined to try anything to save her new calling.

With some help from Lenny (John Pankow), Becky (Rachel McAdams) dives right into her first major network gig as the executive producer of IBS' "Daybreak." The expressions of Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) and Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) are indicative of the anchors' clashing personalities.

Morning Glory is penned by The Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna and, without having seen that popular dramedy, I am almost certain it had a similar design and success. Morning Glory mines much entertainment from its young woman's entry to a high-powered Manhattan workplace. It helps that that workplace is universally familiar but not given much thought beyond viewing or happening to catch. Movies that casually shed light on public professions always seem to hold some appeal, and this one's behind-the-scenes look at daily daytime television production is particularly flavorful and believable.

The material occasionally wanders into familiarity. Becky's romance with Pomeroy's similarly distressed former colleague (Patrick Wilson) doesn't turn over any new leaves, but it is unobjectionable while serving the story well. The film also recognizes that its hard-hitting news vs. entertaining fluff debate is an old one and its break room food analogy (bran vs. donuts) doesn't exactly make us forget that others (including James L. Brooks' Broadcast News) have given the subject deeper thought.

As directed by England's Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Venus), Morning Glory remains fairly light and easy to enjoy. Though it is not a rousing success on every front, it does more than enough right to acquit itself where others of its ilk would not.

Patrick Wilson plays Adam Bennett, a sympathetic colleague and love interest to Becky. Her patience tested by the on-air talent, Becky (Rachel McAdams) unleashes a tirade on her uncooperative anchorman.

Rachel McAdams makes for a fine leading lady, convincing as a workaholic in spite of her movie star looks. Harrison Ford seems to be acting in a different film than everybody else and his broadcast voice and demeanor make it tough to believe Pomeroy's ever been put on the air, let alone enough to boast about encounters with heads of state and Mother Teresa.
Still, Ford has the age and gruffness to make him an apt fit for the part and he accordingly lends an air of class and authority to the film. As does Diane Keaton, even if her more open-minded veteran anchorwoman isn't given as much screentime, weight, or depth. Supporting players you might recognize, like John Pankow ("Mad About You") and Matt Malloy, contribute much to us buying the setting as a real functioning family of sorts.

Morning Glory disappointed at the box office, grossing just $31 million domestically on a $40 M budget. It was Ford's second subpar showing in a supporting role last year (the first was Extraordinary Measures), reinforcing that his practically unmatched commercial success has owed much to franchise appeal and strong premises. Of course, this film belongs to McAdams (one of the first to do so) and was advertised as such, so the underperformance may be more easily pinned on her, in spite of her nice work here.

The film gets its second chance to be noticed when Paramount brings it to DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday.

Morning Glory DVD cover art -- click to buy DVD from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish, Descriptive Audio)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Closed Captioned; Video Extra Captioned and Subtitled
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.98
Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on Blu-ray Disc ($34.99 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Morning Glory looks pretty terrific in the DVD's 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. The picture is perfectly clean and sharp throughout, and though this kind of movie could easily have made visuals an afterthought, it actually offers some nice views of New York City and tactful shooting of the TV studio. The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is fine, with no problems to report on, though the mix is largely front/center-based and only really boosted by Ford's bird hunting scene and plenty of female pop tunes (full list here; despite the film's title and tagline, there's as much as Oasis here as in Definitely Maybe, which is none).

Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) and Paul McVee (Ty Burrell) exchange unpleasant words after their mics are cut in this deleted Daybreak sign-off scene. The main menu supplies us a colorized, spread-out version of theatrical poster artwork.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

Just two bonus features accompany Morning Glory on DVD. First and more significant is an audio commentary by director Roger Michell and writer Aline Brosh McKenna. Theirs is a pretty engaging discussion,
covering most of the usual bases from each of their perspectives while staying specific to what's onscreen.

The other extra is the deleted scene "Shampoo Bottles" (0:46), in which we are privy to Diane Keaton and Ty Burrell's characters' post-sign-off small talk. It's a less funny version of a memorable Anchorman gag.

"Previews" gives us a trailer for The Romantics before repeating the disc-opening ones for Rango, The Fighter, and Waiting for "Superman". The anti-smoking PSA that follows those trailers at insertion is not repeated.

The DVD menus are standard, static screens, the main of which is scored.

Award-winning journalist Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) and executive producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) frame the age-old issue of news vs. entertainment in terms of nearby craft services food items.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Without defying expectations, Morning Glory is an enjoyable movie that is just as funny and smart as you hope it would be. Paramount's DVD offers few extras and a feature presentation that's great in an ordinary way. Nonetheless, this is one to see with an open mind.

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Related Reviews:
New: Broadcast News (Criterion Collection) • Burlesque • Life As We Know It • Due Date • You Again • Beauty & the Briefcase • Mean Girls 2
Rachel McAdams: Sherlock Holmes | Starring Harrison Ford: Extraordinary Measures • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Diane Keaton: Father of the Bride • The Godfather Trilogy • Mama's Boy | Patrick Wilson: The A-Team | Directed by Roger Michell: Venus
Jeff Goldblum: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou | Ty Burrell: Modern Family: The Complete First Season
NewsRadio: The Complete Series • Confessions of a Shopaholic • Evan Almighty • My Dog, The Thief

Morning Glory Songs List (in order of use): Joss Stone - "Free Me", Colin Hay - "Waiting for My Real Life to Begin", Paolo Nutini - "New Shoes", Joss Stone - "Incredible", "Prelude & Fughetta in G Major", Michael Bublé - "Stuck in the Middle with You", "Open Spaces 4", Colbie Caillat - "Don't Hold Me Down", "Five PM", Imelda May - "Johnny Got a Boom Boom", Hoagy Carmichael - "Two Sleepy People", The Kodaly Quartet - "Finale from String Quartet in B-Flat Major (Op. 64 No. 3, Hob. III:67)", "Happy Birthday to You", 50 Cent - "Candy Shop", The Weepies - "Same Changes", "Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy", Corinne Bailey Rae - "Are You Here", Newton Faulkner - "Gone in the Morning", Natasha Bedingfield - "Strip Me"

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Reviewed March 5, 2011.



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