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USA 2008
Directed by
Marc Lawrence
103 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

I must confess not only to a liking for Hugh Grant’s line of public school charm but also a fascination with Sarah Jessica Parker’s twiggy frame and exaggeratedly made-up face. Singly or together however neither can sustain attention to Marc Lawrence hokily old school rom-com, the sort of mid-level distraction one can imagine Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon penning in the 1930s or ‘40s but which is lamely irrelevant in the new millennium.

Paul (Grant) and Meryl (Parker) Morgan are an upscale Manhattan couple going through a marriage separation. One night, after meeting to discuss the future, they witness a murder of a mobster. For their protection Federal agents whisk them away to a small town in Wyoming where they are forced into each other’s company with predictable results. 

Did You Hear about the Morgans? labours from the outset in setting up its premise and once it arrives in Wyoming and starts to roll out its ten gallon, cowboy country stereotypes, notably thanks to Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen as Marshall  Clay Wheeler and his wife, Emma, it becomes progressively less engaging. The main problem is Lawrence’s mechanical script in which there is nothing at stake and in which every scene feels like it was lifted from some other, not necessarily, better, movie.

Grant who had worked with Lawrence in Two Weeks Notice in 2002, Music and Lyrics in 2007 (and would again, in what is the best of the bunch, in 2014 in The Rewrite), has the best lines and he lends the mostly ailly story some appeal as the fish-out-of-water Englishman. Parker, however, is mis-cast as his uptight Central Park wife in a part which is markedly underwritten. Compounding the problem, as there is no chemistry between the pair as actors there is no apparent justification for Paul’s desperate attempts to heal the breach between them. Elliott trots out his usual laconic cow-poke character and Steenburgen is borderline embarrassing as his card-carrying NRA member spouse. Wilfred Brimley provides another very  familiar type, the grumpy-but-good-hearted Ol’ Gramps.The rest of the cast are best-off not mentioning.

Did You Hear about the Morgans? is purposively designed as pop-corn entertainment but it is more corn than pop and at best hard-core fans of the two leads may find it diverting. 

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Available from: Shock Entertainment




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