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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Morning Glory

March 6th, 2011

Morning Glory - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Morning Glory is a movie that came and went so fast that one could not blame you if you already forgot about it. It barely opened in the top five, and a few weeks later is was all but gone from theaters. That's a terrible run at the box office, but was it a terrible movie, or was it unjustifiably ignored by moviegoers?

The Movie

Rachel McAdams stars as Becky Fuller, a producer for an early morning TV show. A really early morning TV show and she's up at 1:30 a.m. to start her day. At the beginning of the movie it looks like she's about to get that big promotion she's been working so hard for, but that's not the case and instead she's fired as a cost-cutting measure.

After sending out multiple resumes to every single similar TV show out there, Becky finally gets a response from Jerry Barnes, the head of news at IBS, who wants to hire her to run DayBreak, the last place national morning show. She enthusiastic about the job, despite Jerry spending the entire interview belittling the show. He does give her a chance, but she quickly sees why the show is in last place. The two hosts, Colleen Peck and Paul McVee hate each other, they are underfunded, and most of the people working there are resigned to their fate. On the first day of her job, she fires Paul after he hits on her, and for his general unprofessional behavior.

Needing a replacement, and from within the network because she doesn't have the budget to hire outside, she learns Mike Pomeroy has a clause in his contract that allows her to make an official offer and if he doesn't accept, the network won't have to pay him the $6 million left on his contract. Despite his hatred of morning TV shows like DayBreak, he concedes and accepts. However, those that live by the contract, die by the contract. And while Mike is forced to work at DayBreak, his contract also states he's allowed to refuse to cover any news story he doesn't want to cover, which is all of them. Add in a romantic involvement with another producer at the same network, Adam Bennett, and Becky's life is certainly full.

Difficult anchors, low ratings, new romance? But will she be able to balance it all?

The film is also trying to balance a lot of stories. It looks at the behind-the-scenes of a morning news show. It's about a young woman trying to make it in business. It's about working with a difficult boss, and it's about the romance between Becky and Adam. That's too many storylines for this movie and without the ability to focus, much of what could be a selling point just sort of exists. For instance, the romance seems superfluous; it's almost like it is there just to be something Becky has to give up in order to show how dedicated she is to the show.

Also, they talk about the debate between entertainment and real news, and this reminds me of the debate in The Devil Wears Prada, which was also written by Aline Brosh McKenna. In both cases, a lot of movie makes fun of the worlds the main character is working it, fashion in The Devil Wears Prada and morning news shows in Morning Glory. However, they can't really skewer their subjects, because in the end the the main character will have to rise above all of the obstacles and make it in the business. You can't spend an hour attacking something that really deserves it, then turn around and embrace it. So the satire here falls flat.

On the other hand, there are a lot of talented people in the movie and in many cases they rise above the material. Rachel McAdams can easily carry a movie like this and Diane Keaton certainly nails the morning show host persona. Harrison Ford is exceedingly good at dry, biting humor and there are hints of that in this film, not enough in my opinion. Seeing Jeff Goldbloom is always a treat, and John Pankow doesn't get enough work.

Overall its acceptable entertainment. Morning Glory is the kind of movie you can watch and enjoy, but not remember much of the next day.

The Extras

The only extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray are an audio commentary track and a single deleted scene. The audio commentary track is informative, if a little dry, while the deleted scene is less than a minute long, so it barely counts as an extra.

There are no exclusives on the Blu-ray, while the video and audio are good, but not great. It's a dialogue driven comedy, so don't go in expecting a Blu-ray you can use to show off your home theater system. The video has good details, sharp colors, deep blacks, etc., while the dialogue is always clear, even if the track is heavy on the front speakers and light on everything else.

The Verdict

Morning Glory has a great cast working with a good script and it is worth checking out. However, it is not memorable enough, nor are there enough extras on either the DVD nor the Blu-ray to lift it above the rental level.

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Filed under: Video Review, Morning Glory