Anyone who's been following Rachel McAdams as she flits from deft comic turns (Mean Girls) to three-hanky dramas (The Notebook, The Time Traveler's Wife) to the occasional nail-biter (Red Eye) can attest to her talent and range. It was only a matter of time, of course, before someone started thinking the Canadian actor could be a next-gen Julia Roberts, or a Homo sapien version of Angelina Jolie. Roger "Notting Hill" Michell's romantic comedy insists that she's really Sandra Bullock 2.0---a bad move. Cast as a go-getter revamping a failing morning TV show, McAdams gives us one great scene: Having a million requests thrown at her during an editorial meeting, she methodically fires back answers, capping it off by sacking the office perv. It's a winning mocha-swirl moment of motormouth and backbone. After that, we simply get 90 minutes of skin-of-the-teeth desperation and sweat-gland panic.
Even if you subtract ill-advised attempts at star branding, Morning Glory requires you to tie your noggin in knots over other riddles. Such as: How does one cast Harrison Ford as a Mike Wallace--ish hard-ass and Diane Keaton as a Katie Couric clone, yet totally fail to generate any comic chemistry? Or expect an oddly bland Patrick Wilson to genuinely compete with McAdams's true amore, her job? Or suggest that veteran muckrakers should lighten up while also positing that the infotainment news world requires more journalistic rigor---and not see that as contradictory? This charmless movie thinks it can soft-sell its date-night love story and its media meta-jabs without people feeling they've been bamboozled on either count. To which we can only say good night, and good luck.
Watch the trailer