Hammering Out . . . Morning Glory

Hammering Out . . . Morning Glory
JOHN: I'll go on and state the obvious: I was excited to see Morning Glory based on J.J. Abrams' involvement as a producer.  As far as workplace comedies go, it's decent.  Easily watchable.  I've always enjoyed Rachel McAdams on screen, and she's got the comedic chops to carry the movie on her shoulders, which she does admirably.  The story is basically a reheated version of Devil Wears Prada, with Harrison Ford in the Meryl Streep role.  Not too surprising given that the screenwriter of Prada wrote this one too.  But Ford is no Streep.  I see why he was cast, but he is so wrong for this kind of movie.  True, he's playing the so-called "third worst person in the world," but that doesn't mean he can't make being an asshole funny.  I don't know what's happened to him the last decade but he's lost his charm as an actor and, more than anything, comes across as unpleasant.  He ruined the movie for me.  What do you think?
JULIE: This is definitely a movie that I probably would stop and watch if I happened to find it on TV a Saturday afternoon.  It's pleasant enough and entertaining enough, but it's still not great.  It should've been so much better.  And I think you're right.  The biggest problem is Harrison Ford.  All the other actors deliver performances that are easy and enjoyable to watch.  Even though the love story between McAdams and Patrick Wilson is a complete throwaway, the two of them are so likeable on screen that their compulsory courtship becomes bearable.  Jeff Goldblum is a welcome presence.  Diane Keaton is fine, even if she is a bit of a caricature.  At least she was trying to bring some life to her character.  Harrison Ford, however, like his character in the movie, was content to phone it in, treating the material as if it were beneath him.
JOHN: Yeah, you needed someone like Bill Murray in that role.  Think of Scrooged.  He was a complete dick.  But he was a funny dick.  And when he finally came around and became likeable in the end, there was a distinct change.  Heck, even Goldblum would have been good in the role.  Goldblum is always a welcome presence and he gets most of the laughs here.  Morning Glory is now the second romcom this year (the first was The Switch) that he's graced with his unique comic timing.
You bring up an excellent point with the love story subplot.  It is unnecessary and half-assedly done.  Why not just make it a workplace comedy and keep it at that?  It's as if the filmmakers thought that their target audience wouldn't be happy if there weren't some romance in it.  I like to think audiences are smarter than that.  This could have been more like Ron Howard's underappreciated The Paper - there was no love story in that.  Morning news shows provide plenty of comic fodder on their own.  Morning Glory captures some of that, but also kind of stretches in exaggerating the ridiculousness of morning news segments.
JULIE: It's like they knew something was lacking in the workplace storyline, but they didn't bother to fix it.  They just threw in a romantic subplot and hoped all the ladies would be so enamored with Patrick Wilson that they'd forget to be annoyed with how lame everything else in the movie was.
Let's get to the ratings.  I'm going to rank it on the Harrison Ford Scale.  It's better than Indiana Jones IV, but worse than What Lies Beneath.
JOHN: But how does it compare to Regarding Henry?
JULIE: I don't think I've ever seen Regarding Henry (pop culture blind spot).  But I will say that this film is better than K:19 - The Widowmaker, and it has a better title.
JOHN: Nice. But I'm calling you out.  I don't think you've ever seen K:19 either.  I'm going to give it **1/2 stars.  J.J. - I expected more from you.

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