AWFJ Women On Film – “Morning Glory” – Review by Susan Granger

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Comedy’s hard but the challenge is made a bit easier when you’ve got a leading lady like perky Rachel McAdams, who so completely embodies her character of a 28 year-old wannabe television producer that Harrison Ford graciously gave her top-billing.

After losing her job at a New Jersey morning show because of budget cuts, smart, savvy and spunky Becky Fuller (McAdams) is determined succeed when she’s given the chance to raise Manhattan-based “Daybreak” from the ratings gutter by a skeptical IBC executive (Jeff Goldblum). “Daybreak” is hosted by telegenic veteran Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) and obnoxiously smarmy Paul McVee (Ty Burrell), whom Becky promptly fires, endearing her to the beleaguered staff and earning the admiration of news-hour hunky Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson). Searching for a replacement host, Becky discovers a loophole in the contract of a venerable, retired anchorman, Mike Pomeroy (Ford) that requires him to accept an IBC job – if it’s offered – in order to collect his multi-millions each year. Pompous, cynical, Dan Rather-esque Pomeroy is not pleased, to say the least, refusing to report ‘fluffy’ soft-news stories and, above all, to indulge in babbling banter with contentious Colleen Peck. So Becky must use all her irrepressible energy and inventive ingenuity to succeed.

Written by Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada,”) and directed by Roger Mitchell (“Notting Hill”), this innocuous, formulaic romantic comedy combines elements of the sit-com “WKRP in Cincinnati” with “Working Girl,” “Broadcast News” and other commentaries on the sad state of television today, presenting a series of contrived obstacles that idealistic Becky must overcome. But Rachel McAdams is engagingly endearing and Harrison Ford does crusty, cranky arrogance so superbly that if there’s ever a revival of the “Grumpy Old Men” franchise, he’s obviously ready. And their chemistry is undeniable, if strictly platonic in deference to their obvious age difference.

While it should never be confused with Katharine Hepburn’s 1933 melodrama entitled “Morning Glory,” on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, this “Morning Glory” is a mildly amusing, screwball 7, evoking a surprising amount of laughter.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.