| The main drawing card for this lightweight situational comedy directed by Roger Michell (“Notting Hill” and “Changing Lanes”) from a screenplay written by Aline Brosh McKenna (“27 Dresses” and “The Devil Wears Prada”) is an attractive, star-studded cast led by Rachel McAdams (“The Notebook” and “Wedding Crashers”), Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton.
The story centers on Becky Fuller (McAdams), an up-and-coming television producer who devotes herself completely to the job. She is a whirling dervish always in motion. Ditsy, spunky and perky are adjectives that describe this go-getter. Her social life is in shambles. She rambles nervously on dates and can’t find a guy willing to stick around long enough for sex.
After being terminated from a New Jersey station due to corporate downsizing, she gets hired to revitalize “Daybreak,” a last-place nationally televised morning show. The show is co-hosted by Colleen Peck (Keaton), a former Miss Arizona and longtime daytime personality for early risers. Colleen has seen a revolving door of producers during her tenure in front of the camera.
Becky’s first action is to fire the male co-host, who has a foot fetish, to improve morale. She coerces former evening news anchor Mike Pomeroy (Ford) to become the new co-host. She idolized Pomeroy growing up and thinks his reputation for courage and integrity will boost ratings.
The movie takes you behind the scenes to production meetings where content ideas are tossed around. You discover that Peck and Pomeroy are stubborn, spoiled prima donnas.
Becky is given six weeks by the head of the network (Jeff Goldblum) to boost ratings or the show will be canceled. She decides to go for broke with sensational and more aggressive topics to attract viewers.
Becky has a quickie affair on the side with Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson from “Watchmen” and “Little Children”), a fellow producer on the network’s news magazine show.
The distinguished-looking Ford is hilarious as the pompous and cranky sourpuss. His rip-roaringly funny scenes draw the biggest laughs. Be sure to check out his multi-colored socks. McAdams has a cute personality and is pleasing on the eyes as she goes through the motions. Keaton draws the short straw so far as screen time goes, but makes the most of it with a winning caricature.
The movie is unevenly paced with wild shifts in tone. It too often goes for the cheap and easy laugh. It is entertaining enough to get a passing grade, but borders on being a pilot episode for a prime-time television sitcom. The movie doesn’t spend enough time on the character’s private lives away from work.
Recognizable television news personalities Bob Schieffer, Morley Safer and Chris Matthews make a cameo appearance.
The movie opened on Wednesday to get a jump on the weekend box office. A far superior movie with similar themes worth checking out is the 1987 Oscar-nominated “Broadcast News.”
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"