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At the start of the film, Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is fired from her beloved job as the producer of a morning talk show. She takes a pay cut to work at a different morning show called Daybreak that has terrible ratings and is headed for cancellation unless she, and the oddball employees that work for her, can make the program a success. She also ends up in a relationship with another producer (Patrick Wilson's character), but her workaholic attitude is constantly preventing her from having any sort of a normal life.
The main focus of the movie is her relationship with one of her favorite news broadcasters (played by Harrison Ford) who has been forced to work on her cheery morning show even though he is accustomed to hard-hitting journalism. He begrudges the assignment and plays the part of the cranky old man who drives Becky up the wall with his antics and general grumpy attitude.
The film opened to mixed reviews and moderate success.
The film contains examples of:
- Beware the Nice Ones: After weeks of tolerating Mike's boorish behavior, Becky finally lets loose with both barrels.
- Blithe Spirit: Becky.
- Brainless Beauty: The airheaded Asian co-host won her job on the merits of her sleeping with Goldblum's boss character.
- Broken Pedestal: Becky has idolized Mike all her life, so she's rather shocked to discover what a neurotic, pompous ass he is.
- Butt Monkey: Ernie the weatherman is placed into increasingly dangerous segments so the audience can howl with laughter as he screams. When Becky arranges for him to ride "The Manhandler" on live TV, Ernie spends most of the uphill climb commenting on the cumulous clouds, puzzling Mike. Then the roller coaster hits its first dip.
Ernie: Ooohhh FUUUU UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU--!!'
- The Cake Is a Lie: Wily Mike dupes Becky into filming the Governor's arrest by pretending to cover the annual Sauerkraut Festival in upstate New York.
Becky: You baited me with sauerkraut! That's so low.
- The Cameo: Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo.
- Mike interviews ex-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice at the start of the film.
- Casual Kink: The presiding anchor on Daybreak introduces himself to Becky by offering to photograph her feet for his privately-run website. Eeeegh.
- Chekhov's Skill: Mike's cookery talents.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Becky is one of these (her first date in the film certainly thinks so), but it's charming.
- Chick Flick: It's really about Becky's life as a whole, and the romance is a minor part of the story — but it's still mostly a "girls' night" sort of flick.
- The Comically Serious: In his first broadcast, Mike summons a thundercloud over Colleen's cheery repartee.
- Cool Old Guy: Harrison Ford really defines this trope in this movie.
- Cue the Sun: Cleverly uses a sunrise shot to close the film - which is very apt as it is about a morning TV show - and watching protagonists walk into a sunrise is that much more interesting than seeing them ride off into the sunset.
- Daredevil: When Becky starts putting her colleagues through more and more crazy stunts to boost the ratings (rollercoasters, parachutes etc.) one of them is surprised to find he enjoys it. (Colleen dismisses this by claiming he's a shameless hack).
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Diane Keaton's character, Colleen Peck, does this well.
- Determined Expression: Becky sports an epic one at times.
- The Ditz: A young woman who got her job by sleeping with the boss. "The Rock changed his name to Dwayne Johnson," seriously?
- Family Versus Career: Or romance versus career. For once, both male and female characters are shown to be struggling with this.
- Fat Suit: Colleen takes a turn at sumo wrestling in one of these.
- Grumpy Old Man: Mike Pomeroy.
"You're in the News Department, you cretin! News is a sacred temple. And you are part of the cabal that's ruining it with horseshit!!"
- Hey, It's That Guy!:
- Hooked Up Afterwards: Mike and Colleen, of all people. Foe Yay perhaps?
- Ironic Echo: "Fluffy".
- Informed Judaism: One of Becky's colleagues, which makes for a funny moment when he gets nervous enough before a dubious emission to cross himself.
Becky: Okay ... the Jewish guy's crossing himself ... so we're confident, right?
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mike.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Any time Becky puts on a Determined Expression, you're in for some serious fireworks.
- Loophole Abuse: While pouring over Mike's contract, Becky discovers that he cannot refuse an anchor position if the network (i.e. herself) offers to re-hire him.
- Married to the Job: Becky.
- Mean Boss: Who knew Jeff Goldblum could play such a prick?
- Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford's character) used to call his assistant "Senor Dipshit". The assistant (Becky's boyfriend) retaliates by telling everyone that Mike is "the third worst person in the world".
- Meaningful Echo: A blizzard of them during the climatic scene with Mike in the studio kitchen. In a gesture to Becky, he turns to the camera and proclaims the eggs "fluffy" -- the adjective he refused to say on TV earlier. He ends the segment with a teaser for his doughnut recipe next week; He had earlier described Becky and her ilk to peddling nothing but "sugar" to the public.
- Misplaced Names Poster
- Nerds Are Sexy: Becky is a news junkie and a spaz...who's played by Rachel McAdams.
- The Not Love Interest: Becky and Mike, complete with a Third-Act Misunderstanding and a touching Race For Your Love moment at the end.
- Not What It Looks Like: Becky and Mike have a "not what it sounds like" moment the morning after she pulled him out of a bar and guarded him all night to make sure he wasn't too drunk to appear on Daybreak.
Mike: She spent the night at my place.
Becky: Guys, c'mon! I slept on the couch.
Mike: Until I woke her up with my ... African rain stick.
- Newscaster Cameo: Becky catches Mike going on a bender with Chris Matthews, Bob Schieffer, and Morley Safer in a bar.
- Oblivious to Love: Becky, who lampshades this cheerfully when explaining to her suitor why she ran out on their previous date.
- Precision F-Strike: Colleen, after telling Becky how sorry she is that Mike Pomeroy turned down the co-anchor job and how she would have welcomed him with open arms, sees the man himself walk into the studio and welcomes him with one of these.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Colleen performs "Candy Shop" with 50 Cent.
- Running Gag: Becky isn't strong enough to open doors, and has to put all of her weight into it every time.
- "No, I'm not going to sing!"
- Shallow Love Interest: A male one for once.
- Slap Slap Kiss: The ending shows Mike and Colleen patching up their differences -- with an impromptu shagging in the dressing room.
- Smash Cut:
Becky: Do you have any preexisting conditions?
Colleen: Are you kidding? Look at me. I'm a rock!
[cut to Colleen getting pummeled by a sumo wrestler]
- Smoking Is Cool: Mike lights up a cigar after throwing the Governor to the wolves.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Co-hosts Mike and Colleen, who hate each other but have to pretend to be civil in front of the camera.
- This Is My Chair: Mike and Colleen can't agree over who gets to sign off. And it just goes downhill from there.
- This Just In: Mike's surprise exposé, calculated to show up his bosses and remind the world that he's a great reporter. He interrupts Colleen's broadcast to film the arrest of the Governor on fraud charges.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The plot calls to mind Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric's vitriolic relationship on The Today Show in The Nineties. Mike makes snide references to Colleen's getting a pap smear on live TV; this is a jibe at Couric televising her own colonoscopy.
- Volleying Insults: Becky encourages Mike and Colleen's venomous exchanges in order to drive up ratings.
- ↑ Not to be confused with the similar British morning show of the same name and status at that time