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'Morning Glory' impresses

Nov. 12, 2010

By Cara Leigh

Any movie that dares to employ an enthusiastic, clumsy and disarmingly driven lead woman is sure to get a raised eyebrow and a roll of my eyes. Unfortunately for my cynicism, "Morning Glory" -- with the help of a snappy script, polished talent and that oh-so-dreaded lead -- proves itself a solid comedy with bite.

From the moment Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) stumbles into the first scene, you've got her pinned: Perky. Intelligent. Harebrained. A hardworking executive producer for broadcast news, Becky is a bright-eyed, invigorating ball of energy who, due to extenuating circumstances, was fired from a promising gig.

With a determination only palatable through the can-do Becky, she starts a whirlwind of a job hunt, finally landing a position at Daybreak -- notoriously the worst broadcast news station in the nation.

Rock-bottom ratings, unproductive staff and dull news bits plague the set of Daybreak. Turns out Becky is just what the doctor ordered, and in an effort to find a replacement for the lead male anchor, she enthusiastically offers the job to the "third-worst man in the world."

And from the moment disgruntled news anchor Mike Pomeroy's forearm does battle with the elevator doors, you start to surmise just what Becky has gotten herself into.

Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) looms over the camera like a grumbling storm cloud, and it is only the lively and likable Becky who is willing to fight thunder with lightning.

The only thing colorful about Pomeroy is his striped socks. Ford brings forth an incorrigible, crotchety and arrogant grump of a man -- a self-entitled braggart who sniffs at the notion of "entertainment news," unaffectionately referring to it as sugared doughnuts.

Bran Flakes is what Becky then consequently ends up calling hard news. Her goal for the drowning Daybreak? "Bran-doughnuts."

Caught up in contractual obligations, Pomeroy is forced to swallow his new position -- but he refuses to do it with finesse.

If he's an unstoppable force, then Becky is the immovable object. Their relationship is touchy to say the least, with heartwarming highs and devastating lows. And although cracked, beaten and badly bruised, the young producer is the only one to get a smile out of Pomeroy -- even if it is only a little twitch of his mouth.

Usually exhausting and unappealing, a character like Becky Fuller has the highest potential to burn in one-dimensional hell. But McAdams breathes infectious verve into Becky, inspiring sympathy in the only character that still has a reservoir of hope.

Absorbing Becky's environment and day-to-day struggles, one can understand her frazzled personality. Between a semi-incompetent staff, edgy boss (Jeff Goldblum), sassy female anchor (Diane Keaton) and the additionally cross Pomeroy, banging her head against walls seems to be Becky's only release.

The collage of these vibrant characters sews together a blanket of twisted familiarity and unexpected comfort around Becky, and with charm and ease the film convinces the audience (as well as Miss Fuller) to accept the nail-bitingly bad moments with the delightfully good.

"Morning Glory" is a well-choreographed and visually smart film, with contemporary comedic timing and emotional poignancy expected from such an expert cast.

Grade: B-