With a cast that includes Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford, it’s natural to expect the new comedy “Morning Glory” to be passable on star power alone.
Sadly, that isn’t the case. This talented cast is stuck in a low-rent script that is just as dimwitted as the daytime talk show at the center of the film. “Morning Glory” clearly aspires to be “Broadcast News,” and it’s not even good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as the little-seen Brittany Murphy film “Little Black Book.”
McAdams plays Becky, a career-oriented television producer hired to revive the sagging ratings of a network morning show.
Becky thinks she has found the perfect solution when she persuades a well-respected former newsman named Mike Pomeroy (Ford) to join the show as a co-anchor. The new arrival doesn’t go quite as planned, as Mike quickly locks horns with Becky and his co-host, Colleen Peck (Keaton).
“Morning Glory” was written by Aline Brosh McKenna, who also was behind the films “The Devil Wears Prada,” “27 Dresses” and “Laws of Attraction.” I wasn’t really a fan of any of those films, and while this might compete with “Prada” as the best of the films, it still isn’t very good. McKenna throws way too much out there and doesn’t really give it time to settle. You have Jeff Goldblum as Becky’s boss, Patrick Wilson as a potential love interest and the great Ty Burrell (from TV’s “Modern Family”) as a perverted anchor - but none of their characters goes anywhere.
Becky is way too predictable, another of those romantic comedy characters who is focused on the career and never has time for love. McAdams is generally pretty charming, but I found her annoying, too.
Keaton does the best she can with what she is given (which is very little), while Ford just plays the same gruff character he has perfected the last decade. And when Mike does the inevitable nice guy turn, it comes way too late for the audience to care.
Perhaps director Roger Michell sensed the script was spinning its wheels. How else can you explain his decision to go to the music video montage at least a half-dozen times. It’s as if Michell is trying to distract the audience from the fact that nothing much happens in “Morning Glory.” It’s like being forced to watch “The View,” only having to follow them home afterward.
Also in theaters
For movie fans looking for something the whole family can enjoy, there is “Megamind” (B) - the latest animated feature from Dreamworks that gets by largely on the shoulders of Will Ferrell’s tremendous talents.
Ferrell voices Megamind, a supervillain locked in a lifelong battle with superhero Metro Man (Brad Pitt).
When Megamind finally gets the best of his nemesis, Megamind takes over Metro City but quickly becomes bored with his newfound power. So Megamind sets out to create a new superhero to fight, only to create a villain more powerful than himself.
From Ferrell to Pitt to Tina Fey and Jonah Hill, there is plenty of star power in “Megamind” to boost the entertainment factor. Ferrell fares the best with a role that really plays to his improv skills. He makes the character a fun and likable lug - even when he gets soft in the film’s final act.
The screenplay itself is kind of hit and miss. I enjoyed the aspect of what happens when the villain wins and Metro Man’s ultimate demise leads to a couple of clever moments, but the final conflict seems like an afterthought, despite the best efforts of all involved.
Still, Ferrell has so much fun that it rubs off and manages to work. It’s not quite on the level of Pixar films or “Shrek,” but it is still good enough - a worthy family film for the holiday season.
“Megamind” is rated PG for action and some language and is now playing at the Great Escape 12 and Highland Cinemas in Glasgow.