"Did You Hear About the Morgans?" Movie Review (2009)

12/20/2009 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Did You Hear About the Morgans?"

Directed by Marc Lawrence, Written by Lawrence, 103 minutes, Rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Oh, the magic of the American West. No matter how screwed up your life may be, simply hitch a ride to Wyoming and with the wisdom of its "simple-folk" population and the dead silence of nature, surely all of your problems will be solved.

At least, such seems to be the case with wealthy New York couple Meryl and Paul Morgan. Paul (Hugh Grant) is a lawyer. He went to Los Angeles on business and because of some hardships within the marriage, he got drunk and cheated on Meryl (Sarah Jessica Parker), a materialistic realtor. They've been separated for three months and Paul is desperate to bring the relationship back together. One night after Paul invites her to dinner to make amends (he fails), the two are just about to part when they witness a mob hit. The killer sees their faces before they flee.  Since Meryl's business is well-known in the city and the couple can't go anywhere without people knowing them, the Feds decide to send them away to Wyoming.  There, they'll take part in the Witness Protection Program.

What follows would be advertised as "wacky hilarity." I assure you, this film is far from funny.

Hugh Grant gives his typical performance as an awkward, bumbling and wise-cracking British intellectual, and though his role is far from anything worth praise, he does manage to be one of the few things worth watching in the film. Sarah Jessica Parker, who I find completely impossible to like, didn't change my mind here.

Joining them is an admirable collection of character actors, one of whom is Sam Elliot as the sheriff they stay with in Wyoming. He seems to be doing little more than going through the motions, and his occasional cringe at Grant and Parker's behavior may as well be him cringing along with the audience as they do all sorts of things--argue, run from bears, interact with the stereotypical (and ever-wise and eccentric) country folk, roll around in a bull costume, among other crazy and consistently dull shenanigans.

But of course, through all the chaos, the Morgans begin regaining the passion in their marriage.

In the film, we also get a couple side-plots that involve the Morgans' goofy personal assistants and the killer attempting to track the duo down. The lot of it is just as dull as the main plot.

While watching the film, I got this bizarre thought.  When it began, I noticed that it was edited by former Woody Allen collaborator Susan E. Morse. She's one of the few editors I recognize when watching a film and her swift and informed editing was certainly a blessing here. But what I thought around halfway through the film is that under different circumstances, this could have been a Woody Allen film--and it likely would have been good. The troubled New York-based relationship, the fast-talking and intellectual main characters (Grant has worked with Allen), and two characters being taken out of their element so they can rekindle their marriage in the process (as in "Small Time Crooks" or "Manhattan Murder Mystery"). It proves that writing and direction transcend concept. In a different universe (perhaps one without sloppy rom-com director Marc Lawrence), this ridiculous, disastrous cash-in may have been a comedy gem.

But this is the real world, where films rarely are as great as their concepts. "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" is one of the worst films of 2009.

Grade: D

View the trailer for "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" below. Thoughts?

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