There was a brief two year lull, or "break," in Rachel McAdams' career that started in 2005 after the release of holiday favorite The Family Stone. That brief departure from acting was obliterated in 2007 when McAdams started appearing in everything from Married Life to State of Play to Sherlock Holmes. In the continuing campaign to prove her wide range of acting skills to casting directors everywhere, McAdams is currently starring in the drama-tinged comedy Morning Glory with acting heavyweights Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton (who also shared a credit with McAdams in The Family Stone).
Opening with Becky Fuller (McAdams) meeting for a blind date at five o' clock in the evening, the audience is immediately introduced to her workaholic nature (she arranges the dinner at that time because she has to wake up in the inhumane hours of the night to get to the studio of the New Jersey morning show she produces). The blind date (Noah Bean) is predictably offput by Becky's intense enthusiasm for her job. Unfazed by her persistent track record for driving away men, Becky anticipates a promotion to senior executive producer of her morning show--little does she know, all of her expectations are about to be shattered. If all of this is sounding somewhat familiar and formulaic, it is because Aline Brosh McKenna, who also wrote the scripts for 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada, is responsible for the storyline.
And so, after being laid off instead of promoted, Becky crashes with her mother (played by Patti D'Arbanville, who will forever be skilled at acting in the role of the unsupportive matron, per her star turn as Rayanne Graff's mom in My So-Called Life) and begins a frantic search for a job in New York. Her plucky determination is shot down by both potential employers and her mother, who makes the cold assessment regarding her dream to become a producer on The Today Show, "At 8 it was adorable, at 18 it was inspiring, at 28 it's embarrassing."
Finally, someone from IBS (no, it doesn't stand for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, though I do think the writer must have known what she was doing with that abbreviation) calls Becky back for an interview with network executive Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum). Even in spite of her qualifications and zeal, Becky still basically has to beg for the job. Shot down by Barnes, Becky leaves, but on her way out of the building, she encounters Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson), another dashing producer who seems faintly smitten with her. Also during the elevator ride, Becky has her first meeting with famed newsman Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford), a man that Bennett categorizes as "the third worst person."
The introduction of Pomeroy into her life proves to be a fateful one as she ends up using his contract with IBS against him in order to make him be the new co-host on Daybreak with Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton). This does not prove to be the pragmatic business decision Becky was hoping for as Pomeroy does nothing but act like an imperious diva with the drinking problem to match. With Barnes breathing down her neck to improve ratings and Bennett pressuring her to be more of the "relationship type," Becky's rope is coming apart at both ends.
But, as I've mentioned before, this is the work of Aline Brosh McKenna we're talking about, so you know it's all going to have a magical happy ending. Where I commend her with this generally prosaic type of conclusion is that she doesn't turn Becky into someone who completely renounces the idea of work as a poor substitute for love. What she manages to discover about herself is that she is capable of finding a balance between the two. And, in several ways, this is a more believable transformation than the one taken by, say, Ryan Bingham in Jason Reitman's Up In The Air. So, for as bromidic as Brosh McKenna's genre of choice can be, she is able to present it in a manner that is, dare I say, revitalizing. Just as Becky, with what Pomeroy calls her "repellent moxie," revitalizes Daybreak in much the same way.