Its edges may not be as sharp as those of “Network” or “Broadcast News,” but “Morning Glory” puts television to the test in its own modest way.
Currently playing on Hulu, the 2010 comedy doubles as both a romance and a satire, hinging on the personal and professional lives — which eventually merge — of Becky Fuller (played by an extremely engaging Rachel McAdams), an ambitious TV-news producer downsized out of her job at a New Jersey morning show. Through sheer force of personality, she convinces a lowly network’s news honcho (Jeff Goldblum) to hire her as the latest of many executive producers of “Daybreak,” a program that’s an industry joke. Literally.
Taking charge by dismissing the skeevy male co-anchor (Ty Burrell), Becky finds herself in immediate need of someone to partner with attitude-dripping co-host Colleen Peck (a droll Diane Keaton). Enter Mike Pomeroy, a legendary newsman sitting out the rest of his lucrative contract, which will be voided if he turns down a job the network offers him … and as the pompous, humorless Pomeroy, Harrison Ford is pure comedic gold. His low growl is good for a laugh with virtually every line.
Becky’s love life also picks up thanks to newsmagazine producer Adam Bennett (a charming Patrick Wilson), but his real role here is to be a sounding board for Becky. His own encounters with Pomeroy make him declare the new morning anchorman “the third worst person in the world,” and Becky soon finds truth in that as Pomeroy stubbornly refuses to do most of what she asks of him.
Director Roger Michell has experience in romantic comedies (“Notting Hill”), but the main creative engine behind “Morning Glory” is screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, who also serviced other heroines wonderfully both before (“The Devil Wears Prada”) and after (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) this film. She makes Becky someone truly to root for, but that’s also to the immense credit of star McAdams.
The actress has proven herself in both comedy and drama many times, but “Morning Glory” arguably is her best showcase to date. Hitting both sad and humorous notes with total skill here (and tossing off many “inside baseball” references to TV news quite smoothly), she carries the picture, part of her run of journalism-related projects that also have encompassed “State of Play” and the Oscar-winning “Spotlight.”
“Morning Glory” also boasts a solid cast of supporting players as “Daybreak” personnel. The standouts: John Pankow (“Mad About You”) as the cheerfully knowing associate producer, and Matt Malloy as the hapless weatherman, who’s sent to give forecasts while skydiving (he’s not good at it) and riding a fearsome roller coaster (he’s not good at that, either).
Quite underrated, “Morning Glory” is terrific fun — and cheers to the cable networks and streaming services that continue to give it its due.