Who’s In It: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Patti D’Arbanville, Jeff Goldblum, Ty Burrell, Matt Malloy
The Basics: Rachel McAdams is an annoyingly perky TV producer and perennially ponytailed single gal whose love life is nonexistent because she’s always checking her BlackBerry for breaking news. When she’s hired to revive Daybreak, a lame morning TV program on the brink of cancellation, McAdams pairs co-host Diane Keaton with grumpy Harrison Ford; naturally, the two hate each other. The only plot turn you won’t have already guessed is that this isn’t the He Said, She Said rom-com for the Something’s Gotta Give As Good As It Gets set that you expected, but rather a horror story about the death of hard journalism and the dumbing down of media. That image of the once-virile Han Solo cooking frittata on live television? It’s a sign of the end of times.
What’s The Deal: Morning Glory begins as your average chick flick romantic comedy, about a beautiful-but-dowdy heroine who’s too focused on her career to land a suitor. Then it gives her the perfect man (in the form of Patrick Wilson as a sexy AND understanding bachelor who, shockingly, isn’t too good to be true) and flips the switch into straight comedy mode, transforming into an exploration of the many ways in which Harrison Ford can stonewall and eviscerate every living person in his orbit with a single withering glance. Watching Ford play a grumpy industry veteran slumming it for the cash is infinitely entertaining on many levels, so it’s disappointing when McAdams and her obscene pluckiness finally wear him down. Mark Morning Glory as both a lamentation of the lost art of thoughtful entertainment and an instrument of its destruction, blowing a noisy raspberry in the face of old media while the mocking warble of a Natasha Bedingfield song plays over the end credits.
Seriously, A Natasha Bedingfield Song Plays Over The End Credits: The Brit pop singer’s got a foothold on the chick flick soundtrack game, with hit singles projecting fresh-scrubbed female pluckiness in movies like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, and Easy A. Her Morning Glory track is called “Strip Me” and features compelling lyrics like “Shut me up but I’ll just scream” and “You ain’t takin’ that away from me.” At least someone’s getting something out of this. And it’s infinitely less soul-crushing than the lite-rock cover of “Stuck in the Middle with You” that happens in the middle of the film.
The Little Things That Get You Through: Even a messy, herky-jerky, obnoxiously bubbly chick flick like this has enough moments of mean-spirited deliciousness and random perversity to keep you awake, including: Harrison Ford’s priceless facial expressions and crackling sense of entitlement (“I pulled Colin Powell from a burning jeep!”); Ty Burrell as Ford’s lecherous morning news predecessor, who welcomes McAdams into the fold by asking to photograph her feet; Matt Malloy as a beleaguered weather man who endures extreme stunts to boost ratings; and Diane Keaton open-mouth kissing a frog.
And Then: The film stumbles its way through familiar beats and resolves everything by having McAdams and Ford strike up an out-of-nowhere faux father-daughter relationship, real news guys Bob Schieffer, Morley Safer, and Chris Mathews make cameo appearances as themselves, and Keaton performs “Candy Shop” with 50 Cent. When a character calls The Today Show "the best job in broadcasting," you know the infotainment terrorists have won.