Thursday, November 11, 2010

At the Movies: Morning Glory (in Bloom)

In time-honored tradition, I spent my federal day off at the movies. I went with my sister, to see Morning Glory in her neck of the woods. The movie opened only yesterday, so you've undoubtedly seen the commercials and know that it's the story of a young, idealistic television producer trying to run Daybreak, a struggling morning talk show. I admit that my hopes were high, my own idealism needing to be nudged only slightly by the tried-but-true girl-against-the-world plot line and the trailer sound bites set to swelling music.

It was good. But not as good as I'd expected. Rachel McAdams is perfect as workaholic go-getter Becky Fuller. Although tough and together on the outside, her character is the equivalent of an awkward adolescent underneath, a quirk that comes into full hide-your-head-under-the-pillow flower when she tries to apologize to another journalist about the awkwardness she caused on their first date.

This is probably a good place to mention where the story loses steam for me. Becky's relationship with this guy is never really developed. They meet, it's weird, then it's not weird. We don't see them get close. Or argue. Which is especially odd, because Becky's commitment to her job provides ample opportunities for conflict. Although she pulls all-nighters and never turns off her Blackberry, her beau never complains, not even when she goads him about it. The absence of any such drama seems especially glaring because the commercials set me up for a gripping work vs. life dilemma, especially when Becky says, "I'm the first one in and the last one out," and when Harrison Ford's prickly Mike Pomeroy begins to thaw, telling Becky, "You're worse than me. You'd sleep at the office if you could. Let me tell you how it ends. You're left with nothing." Turns out, Becky wasn't worrying about her personal life when saying the first line; she used it in her job interview at the beginning of the movie to impress her prospective boss (Jeff Goldblum). And although Mike's advice is heartfelt and marks a high point of the movie, it falls a little flat because Becky isn't experiencing any problems outside of work. Of course, the value of his advice is revealed when Becky turns down an offer from NBC, returning to Daybreak because her coworkers have become like family members to her. I know this marks a turning point because it shows that Becky has learned to put people before career climbing. But it happens a little fast, and I think it would've been more believable if she'd shown half as much warmth for her boyfriend. (Or, to be fair, if he'd shown half as much warmth for her.)

Hmm. Now that I think about it, I'm always criticizing movie and book characters for not being into their relationships enough. I guess that makes me sort of a sap.

All in all, Morning Glory is entertaining and (I sigh a little at resorting to this overused romantic comedy descriptor) cute. If you like the candy-coated humor and sparkle of romantic comedies (as do I, despite the somewhat critical tone of this post), then you'll probably enjoy it.

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