Morning Glory (2010)

Rated: PG-13 for some sexual content including dialogue, language and brief drug references.
Length: 107 min
Grade: B-C+AC=B
Budget: $40 million
Box Office: $59 million (31 U.S., 21 Intl., 7 DVD)

Written by: Aline Brosh McKenna (27 Dresses, The Devil Wears Prada, Laws of Attraction, and Three to Tango)
Directed by: Roger Michell (Changing Lanes, Notting Hill)
Starring: Rachel McAdams
With: Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, and Patrick Wilson.

A passionate television producer is tasked with fixing the worst-rated network morning show, which leads her to coerce a cranky veteran newsman into anchoring the show against his will.

Entertainment Value: B-
This is mostly any ordinary comedy romance in terms of script quality and humor, perhaps a slight nudge better than most. They overuse music scenes, and they have too much profanity (which was unnecessary). But it’s cute enough and the messages are very good. Also, Rachel McAdams is an excellent casting choice, and Harrison Ford doesn’t disappoint as the crotchety and pompous career newsman.

Superficial Content: C+
Drugs/Alcohol B+, Sex/Nudity C+, Violence A-, Language C+
There are some mild references to drugs as comedy. A few scenes play on physical comedy by treating an on-location reporter badly (making him ride a roller-coaster or jump out of a plane, for instance). There are a couple of semi-sexual scenes, but no nudity and some off-color remarks, such as about “hookers.” Profanity is not heavy, but just surprising since it didn’t seem at all necessary and sort of garishly out of step with the overall tone of the movie, which could easily have been PG without it.

Significant Content: A
Here is where this movie really shines. It is essentially a movie about redemption. The main character dreams all of her life about being able to work with the very best show in the world: Good Morning America. But, taking what’s available, she naively tries to save (!) a collapsing show with ratings so bad that the network intends to scrap it entirely. In the process, she manages to make it start clicking so well that GMA actually offers her a position. But in the supreme demonstration of loyalty and the joy of a reclamation project gone right, she decides to stick with the family she’s created through optimism, brilliant decisions, and extremely hard work. So the lesson here is that it’s much, much, much more satisfying to pick a loser and fix it rather than to just attach yourself to an already successful thing. Where’s the glory in joining what someone else has already made good? Regardless of the total lack of religious references, that’s a tremendous Gospel metaphor! There are also some themes about pride and devotion (in a bad way) to just one thing.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
Despite the great themes, I think the mediocre packaging and too-fluffy-ness of it all probably will keep most people from noticing the great message coming across.

Discussion Questions:
~Is it better to fix something that’s already broken or to just join something that already works well? Why do we root for underdogs (like Arizona or Butler) so heavily against favorites (like Duke and Pitt)? How would you preach the Gospel from this movie?
~What is this movie saying about media and the news? What is it saying about American culture? Does it hold normal news anchors up as real role models or is it trying to say they’re all really self-important jerks? Why did so many actual news people want to participate in this movie?
~Do you think Patrick Wilson is really just Matthew McConaughey in slacks instead of cargo shorts?
~Pomeroy resists becoming part of the show at every step. Why? Is he right for feeling contempt for this job? What does the Bible say our attitude should be toward doing anything we are given? Is there any failure by Becky to find a real way to use his actual talents?
~Compare the ways in which Adam’s interest in Becky parallels her own interest in the IBS show. Is she only dating this show until she can upgrade to a better model? What does he know about the “beautiful” women that makes him want someone like her? How does this subplot work to reinforce the major theme of the movie? Consider that she must rescue and reform the show whereas it’s not obvious that he needs to rescue and reform her. Why does she run away from him at first?
~To what degree would you describe Becky as worshipping an idol of career success or the news? Is her fanaticism unhealthy? Does this movie seem to be saying that if you’re really devoted enough, you can make it at last? Is that a healthy message? What would have become of her if things hadn’t worked out?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~The IBS interview.
~Meeting Pomeroy in the elevator.
~Confronting Pomeroy while hunting.
~Pomeroy showing up on set.
~At the GMA interview.
~Getting the mayor.
Overall Grade: B
It’s definitely neither the funniest nor the most engaging PG-13 movie in the world. Nevertheless, there is a very useful message here worth knowing for illustration purposes.

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