By Courteney Merritt

Cute and perky are two adjectives that come to mind in describing Morning Glory. The story is cute, the heroine perky and vice versa. But to dismiss this as a fluffy chick flick or formulaic rom-com would be doing the film a grave disservice.

Fired due to budget reasons from her producer gig on a little known morning news show, a desperate Becky (Rachel McAdams) is thrilled when she gets a job as executive producer for “Daybreak”  even though she is inheriting a fourth place morning show with plenty of problems, not the least of which originate from her anchors – icy Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton who isn’t afraid to recede into the background a bit for the sake of the greater good of the story) and a comedically creepy Ty Burrell as Paul McVee.

Becky gets the brilliant idea to team Colleen with veteran news journalist Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford who shines in all his curmudgeonly, gravel-voiced glory), a plan which comes together thanks to a glitch in his contract. Co-worker (and future love interest) Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson) tries to warn Becky against hiring the “third worst person in the world” but she feels she has nothing to lose. At this point, she is more right than even she realizes.

To say Mike grudgingly agrees to participate is a vast understatement, because he doesn’t agree with anything. Nor does he cooperate in the least with Becky, especially when she urges him to banter with Colleen. The co-anchor interaction quickly turns to feuding, which audiences seem to enjoy but not enough to keep the flagging ratings from plummeting, and Becky not only finds her job on the line but the show’s longevity is compromised as well. This time, she is determined not to go down without a fight and goes to great lengths to save the show by upping the crazy quotient by putting her anchors in increasingly silly situations. Weatherman Ernie takes a ride on a roller coaster with a camera strapped to him, Diane Keaton sumo-wrestles in the Plaza, both of which are funnier as they play out on screen. Of course, perpetual thorn in her side Mike refuses to be a part of the shenanigans. The action takes a slightly more serious turn towards the end as Becky delivers a heartfelt plea for help to the hardened Pomeroy and the fate of the show seems to rest in his hands.

This sit-com premise could easily have floundered in less capable hands. McAdams infuses her portrayal of the frenetic Becky (even her character’s name denoted perkiness!) with just the right combination of sweetly disheveled neuroticism, emotional vulnerability and chutzpa that makes it impossible not to root for her. With her propensity for “rambling and bumbling,” she stops just short of coming across as a caricature and saves herself by being so relatable due to her honesty. Harrison Ford brings an understated pathos to his role as stoic newsman Mike Pomeroy whose 40 year career has garnered many awards and inflated his ego to the point he refuses to compromise on…well, anything.

The action wisely downplays the romantic subplot between Becky and Yale hottie Adam, using it to garner laughs so it doesn’t distract from the main point of the story which focuses on Becky’s professional struggles. And laughs are abundant, as evidenced by the audible amusement that emanated from the audience on several occasions. (Spoiler alert – Diane Keaton grooving with Fifty Cent during a live performance of “Candy Shop” takes the cake.)

Director Roger Michell, probably best known for Notting Hill, takes a script penned by 27 Dresses writer Aline Brosh McKenna (we forgive you!) and preserves what is good in the rom-com genre but broadens its appeal into an engaging underdog tale with lots of heart and genuine laughs.