romantic comedy

A Breakdown of Morning Glory for Rom-Com Purists

Reviews of Morning Glory, the romantic workplace comedy starring a very charming Rachel McAdams, are out, and a consensus of sorts has formed: It’s neither as bad or good as it could be. In the words of David Edelstein, “Morning Glory isn’t terrible. It has a lot of craft, a lot of star power, and a fair number of laughs. What irks me is that the filmmakers settle for so little … They follow the formula, no matter how insipid and predictable.” But for romantic-comedy devotees, the formula is enough. Girl and boy meet, something contrived happens, and boy and girl end up together, all while tugging heartstrings, jerking tears, provoking “aws,” and unleashing giggles. Genre-lovers don’t need a review, they need a breakdown, explaining just how the totally predictable Morning Glory fulfills their very precise rom-com needs and where it fits in the canon. So, we made one for you.

Rom-Com Subgenre
Workplace Romance, with a heavy helping of Newsroom Passion (see: Broadcast News), a dash of Old People Have Chemistry (see: Something’s Gotta Give) and Workaholic Finds Love (see: The Proposal, The Wedding Planner), but thankfully not even a pinch of May-December Smooshing (Sabrina).

Notting Hill director Roger Michell; Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses writer Aline McKenna Brosh; Harrison Ford (Working Girl, Sabrina, and, of course, the romantic-comedy ideal trapped in a space movie known as Han Solo); Diane Keaton (far too much experience in the field to name individually); Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers); Patrick Wilson (The Switch).

Barrier … to Love
She’s a workaholic … He just wants her to turn off her phone during sex!
She’s a workaholic … He just wants to talk to her during dinner, not watch the TV news!
She’s a workaholic … He just wants her to sleep at his place through the night!
He’s a self-righteous, holier than-thou, serious newsman who disdains morning television … She’s a high-strung, longtime morning-news woman willing to strap on a sumo-wresting suit for a story!

Welcome Clichés
Horribly awkward first date leads to love.
Spunky, underestimated young woman saves the day.
Hostile co-workers bitch each other out on live television.

Unwelcome Clichés
Spunky, underestimated young woman, overwhelmed, bangs head against wall.
Spunky, underestimated young woman finds out she has gotten her dream job, screeches with joy in the middle of the street.
Spunky, underestimated young woman sprints across town to arrive somewhere in the nick of time.
People still looking for apartments via newspaper listing.

Boss Who Is Stern But on Your Side
Jeff Goldblum, as the network brass and McAdams’s boss man, takes her to task for bad ratings (stern!), but recognizes talent when he sees it (on your side!).

Romantic Crescendo Locations
An elevator
Schiller’s Liquor Bar
TV studio
Studio dressing room
A sofa

Romance/Comedy Ratio

Tears Jerked
0.5 and you saw the scene in the trailer.

Place on Rom-Com Quality Continuum
Morning Glory is more com than rom, privileging the non-romantical, workplace relationship between Ford and McAdams over the romance between McAdams and Wilson. (Keaton and Ford’s relationship is sadly relegated to little more than a footnote.) But even though the romance is just a B-story-line, it’s still better than the A-stories in abhorrent rom-coms like Fool’s Gold and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Furthermore, such is Rachel McAdams’s inherent rom-cominess that she elevates Morning Glory to around the level of a 27 Dresses. Or, to put this in TV-news rom-com terms, Morning Glory falls far, far short of its almost perfect ancestor Broadcast News, but does come out well ahead of The Ugly Truth.

A Breakdown of Morning Glory for Rom-Com Purists