MORNING NEWS PROGRAMS exist in a parallel universe, made by people who keep antisocial working hours and watched by...? Morning Glory (from director Roger Michell, and writer Aline Brosh McKenna, who also brought us The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses) takes us into this milieu, where it's considered late when morning meetings are scheduled for 5 am, and you're out late when the clock strikes eight. Its characters and their problems, too, are about as fluffy as the frittata on a cooking segment that's one of the film's pivotal scenes.
Rachel McAdams stars as Becky, a young and ridiculously dedicated morning show producer who gets hired to pull the lowest-rated morning show, Daybreak, out of the dumps. You couldn't be blamed for thinking this film was a romantic comedy based on the trailer, but Becky's relationship with love interest Adam (Patrick Wilson, practically making a cameo) could scarcely be more tangential. The real center of drama is Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford), an ornery, formerly great hard-news anchor who Becky manipulates into co-hosting Daybreak. Doing it solely to ride out his contract, Pomeroy's disdain for the position and Becky's outsized, sunny determination to force him to do his job is the drama that counts here, though the impact it amounts to can be shrugged off by the time you find your car in the theater parking lot.
Not that Glory is without charm. McAdams is adorable (admit it), there are a few honest belly-laugh moments, and there's a certain comfort in watching Ford and Diane Keaton (as Pomeroy's co-host) enjoy their acerbic bickering scenes together. Things Morning Glory is not: hip, thought provoking, sexy. Things it is: a safe-as-houses bet for a multigenerational matinee.