That JJ Abrams has his hand in everything. The mega-Producer/Director has been affectionately adopted by the geek communes of the world for re-imagining Star Trek and giving us Cloverfield, but we also forget that he's the brains behind the show Felicity, that awful NBC show Undercovers and now...gasp...Morning Glory. Yeah. JJ Abrams is the Producer behind this cookie-cutter romantic comedy staring Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, State of Play), Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton. The film is about an ambitious morning TV show producer who gets a shot at the big leagues in New York City and falls in love with Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, Hard Candy) and tries to save a failing show. It's nothing new. Movies like this are meant to be harmless, fun, cute, colorful and happy; and that's exactly what this is. However, one thing it's not is creative or original. Shocking that it had hands on it by Abrams who usually delivers creative, if not original, material fairly consistently. Granted, he didn't write or direct this. That role fell to Director Roger Michell (Notting Hill) and Writer Aline Brosh McKenna (Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses). See the former movies that those two have created? It's no wonder they were selected to do Morning Glory. This is more of the same. It's predictable, Hollywood carbon copies. I know I sound like such a snob right now so I'll let you know that I don't mind that all the time. I think Hollywood needs to have the formulas down to continue to make their money. That's so they can fund the more original, edgy or risky projects that do get made. And I know that all those movies have their purpose. Everyone who left the theater after seeing 27 Dresses or Notting Hill felt happy and moderately entertained. That's exactly how you'll feel leaving the theater after this. It doesn't challenge you or make you feel any real emotion and that's okay, I guess. But that's not to say that you won't laugh. The movie does have some very funny scenes, especially for the "We're Making Everything Better" montage that comes in the middle of the film like it's plucked right out of the '80s. You also get one of the better performances from Harrison Ford in the last decade...of course, we only have a handful to compare too. The sublime Jeff Goldblum (The Fly, Jurassic Park) is in this as a totally underused character that doesn't give him a chance to dazzle like he used too. Why dust yourself off, Jeff, if you're not gonna give us something to talk about?! Diane Keaton surpriese and earns a lot of respect from me for playing a part that I didn't expect from her. She really lets her hair down and acts a fool in the film as the opposite to Ford's cranky news veteran. McAdams is adequate, as she always is, playing the same kind of part she always does. I hope she branches out into something more daring soon or she'll just morph into a likable (and bankable) version of Katherine Heigl. So what's the story, Morning Glory? It's basically this: If you're looking for a movie that will make you smile, make you laugh and not make you think that you got your money's worth because you get the vague impression you've seen this movie before...then Morning Glory is for you. It's essentially ordering the same thing off the menu every time; sure it's a little boring because you've had it so often, but at least you know it's not gross.
Morning Glory (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B-