Friday, 28 January 2011

REVIEW: Morning Glory

In which I make it two paragraphs before mentioning the film I'm reviewing. But I'm aware of it so its cool.

I think Star Wars owes Harrison Ford a lot more then it lets on. The problem with movies that create these fantasy worlds and populate them with these arch, good vs evil stories is that the world and characters inevitability feel synthetic or slight, and there's no room to breathe. Put that up against the Lucas standard of dialogue and moralizing, than Ford's trademark douchebag Han Solo became the only character that wasn't extremely upstanding or extremely reprehensible, and thus the only option a viewer over 12 could get behind. Ford has the streamlined persona of an old-fashioned movie star, and that the sense that he's playing 'Harrison Ford' in every role he ever plays is part of his success.

Ford has shown no real desire to explore this persona either. Whereas it could be argued that Tom Cruise only plays himself, for example, Cruise has shown a desire to explore all aspects of that construct, from the traditional heroic incarnations to the darker shadings. Ford has played the lovable asshole in every role he's ever played, except when he reached 50 and the dynamic switched to grouchy asshole. But it's all cut from the same remarkably specific cloth, and I doubt there's an actor in the last 75 years with his level of repute to have a career so complacent. It's not necessarily Ford's problem and as 2-d shticks go, I do enjoy this one. And its certainly the most enjoyable aspect of Morning Glory, a film that feels cliched in spite of its subject matter being one of the less explored aspects of the entertainment industry, at least in recent years. And that never ending soundtrack spike of soul music was pretty fucking annoying.

I guess may main problems lie with Rachel McAdams, who gives a performance that can never really escape the notion of trying too hard, with just way too many exasperated shrugs to communicate that she is in fact a bit of a ditz. I like McAdams in spite of her never really having done anything to warrant me too, and to be fair she's preferable to Diane Keaton, who as she always seems to these days gets away with too much mugging. It takes Ford's weary cynicism to make the thing start working in any capacity, bringing something better out of McAdams and an insufferably twee tone. I kind of enjoyed the film's ode to selling out too, in that the lesson of this movie is that making popular television is more important then making great television, in other words the anti-'Network'.

It's not terrible, and if this kind of thing is your kind of thing then a good time can definitely be had. And I much prefer this kind of feel good movie, that seems to be genuine and plays as moderately intelligent, then to the more standard fare. I think the word is allowable.

Rating: 5/10

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