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How Much Better Is Rachel McAdams Than Morning Glory?

Today, the romantic workplace comedy Morning Glory, a Broadcast News–light starring Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford, arrives in theaters. McAdams plays the dedicated producer of a flailing morning news show who brings on Harrison Ford's grumpy, legendary anchorman to goose the ratings. (Thankfully for your gag reflex, McAdams and Ford, 36 years apart, are not romantically involved.) The movie, written by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses) and directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill) is exactly the sort of rom-com trifle that would get savaged by critics if it were starring Katherine Heigl. Lucky for the movie, then, that it stars McAdams, who is getting the best reviews for appearing in a middling film (currently with a 45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes!) than anyone has since Anna Farris appeared in The House Bunny.

Read the tale of a good actress trapped in a mediocre movie that is probably going to make her a big star anyway.

"If you spend enough time with Rachel McAdams, it’s easy to get lost in the pleasure of her company, or at least become enjoyably distracted. Effortlessly likable, she has a way of keeping you tethered to her character even when your attention begins to wander. Such is the case in Morning Glory, a passably amusing romantic comedy with a laugh-strewn script that’s almost undone by the hard sell of an enterprise that drills every emotional beat into your head, an approach that suggests that the filmmakers see their audiences less as viewers with thinking brains and more as patients with thick skulls." —NYT

"Rachel McAdams streaks across Morning Glory, a diverting comedy about the three-ring circus of morning programs, like dimples shot from a cannon. She's sharp, sexy and funny. Too bad the script does not permit her to be all three at the same time." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"In Morning Glory, Rachel McAdams gives the kind of performance we go to the movies for. The rest of the film isn't always up to her level, but it does provide genial entertainment until it runs out of steam. McAdams' performance is worth the price of admission, but a resolution as satisfying as her work is not to be found." —LAT

"Updating Broadcast News for a more journalistically toxic era, the Paramount release has precious little edge. When devising lead characters, few modern romantic comedies seem to grasp the fine-line distinction between likably eccentric and exhaustingly neurotic, but McAdams fortunately lands on the right side of the equation here... While the character could have easily edged into cartoonish territory, McAdams keeps her wits about her, exhibiting a flustery physicality that is delightful to watch." —Variety

"But when that movie has a star like Rachel McAdams, all bets are off: Largely thanks to her, Morning Glory is breezy and enjoyable, and though its story is a bit unfocused — why give a heroine just one major crisis when you can pack in four or five? — Michell at least allows his actors to relax and have fun with the material. McAdams is his secret weapon: If she can wheedle some charm out of a guy whose face looks as if it’s been carved from a potato, she can do pretty much anything." —Movieline

"And still, McAdams, who has rarely lived up to the ingenue potential evident six years ago in The Notebook, gives a real star turn here, which is all the more remarkable considering the apparent effort director Roger Michell took to avoid the visual shorthand (beaming, beauty-filtered close-ups, dowdy-to-dazzling post-makeover toe-to-head pans, etc.) that the Katherine Heigls of the world use as crutches." —VV

"Men like her. Women like her. Dentists adore her. When she was bratting around the edges of Mean Girls Rachel McAdams had yet to ease into her true qualities. But now the performer blessed with the major-league toothsome smile has far, far more than dewy youth in her favor ... There are plenty of nice faces in the movies. Some are even worth 11, 12 bucks for a couple of stargazing hours. McAdams, though, can act. She's genuinely versatile ... Too much of the script makes too little sense ... Not that it was striving to be Broadcast News, but Morning Glory comes a lot closer in its sensibility to That Girl." —Chicago Tribune

"Morning Glory is a funny entertainment to begin with, and then Rachel McAdams transforms it ... She plays as lovable a lead as anyone since Amy Adams in Junebug ... Morning Glory could have been routine. It's Rachel McAdams' life force that illuminates it. She positions herself barely on the right side of manic. She's always on, always optimistic, always hoping." —Roger Ebert

Photo: Paramount Pictures