Review: Seeing “Morning Glory” Could Make for a Lame Evening

Eager to recreate the commercial and critical success of her 2006 effort, screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna has retooled “The Devil Wears Prada,” this time calling it “Morning Glory” and swapping out the world of fashion for network TV news, an Anna Wintour-esque monster/mentor for a Grizzled Anchor composite and Adrien Grenier for Patrick Wilson.  It doesn’t work.

For the first hour or so, “Morning Glory” is an almost pleasantly harmless story about a plucky young woman eager to make a go of it in the big city. It’s about as broad, faux wacky and arch as you would expect, while still offering the occasional laugh.

If Rachel McAdams weren’t so damn cute this film would be abject torture, a totally irredeemable slog through overly trod ground. McAdams’ charm is such that she manages to outshine the dopey, unbelievable character she’s saddled with, one that’s too dense to know when she’s being asked out and keeps fumbling her cell phone despite it being her de facto umbilical cord.

Watching Han Solo as the grumpy old news vet who wears striped socks (See!?!?!? He's got a whimsical side!) is amusing at first, but it wears thin quickly, though Diane Keaton is pitch perfect as the former beauty queen who now hosts a network morning show. Jeff Goldblum just looks tired—like deeply, in his soul.

What Patrick Wilson is doing in this film is not exactly clear. Super dreamy and a totally capable actor, his career has been plagued by missteps and near-misses, interrupted by occasional successes, like “Little Children.” Here he’s tasked with playing the perfunctory love interest, the handsome colleague who shows her kindness from the very beginning. It’s the sort of two-dimensional role that women usually get to play: stand there, look pretty, we’ll get back to you at the end.

It’s when Brosh and director Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”) decide they want to teach us some valuable life lessons that the film just falls apart. There’s suddenly this mad scramble to get all the players in place to perform their preordained roles. But it doesn’t seem to take they first, so they do it al over again, only this time they drive their points home with a serving of frittata (it’s true).  The characters don’t grow and develop; they hit their marks and flip switches.
And then there’s the soundtrack, which is a litany of easy-listening self-help mantras: “Any minute now my ship is coming in, I'll keep checking the horizon”; “Hey, I put on some news shoes and suddenly everything’s all right”; “Don’t tell me I won’t, I can, Don’t tell me that I’m not, I am”… Got it? Just keep your eyes on the prize, change your shoes and stay positive!

By the end of "Morning Glory," McAdams is just a girl, standing in front of an old man, asking him to make her a frittata, and you’ve been eying the exits for 20 minutes.

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