Witless Morgans Aren't Really Worth Hearing About
- Monday, December 21, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: December 18, 2009
Rating: PG-13 (for some sexual references and momentary violence)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Run Time: 106 min.
Director: Marc Lawrence
Actors: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jesse Liebman, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Kelly, Kevin Brown, Sam Elliot, Mary Steenburgen, Sharon Wilkins
If you're looking for something light and funny to watch during the holidays, trust me, you don't want to hear about the Morgans.
In yet another instance where a movie's trailer doesn't remotely match the tone of the actual film, (yes, the only funny bits were there, but the end product is far more dramatic in scope), Did You Hear About the Morgans? is a surprisingly flat rom-com that doesn't make the most of its quasi-appealing cast.
In fact, it's so blah that it's hard to believe that writer/director Marc Lawrence, the guy responsible for far better Hugh Grant fare Two Weeks Notice and Music and Lyrics, not to mention Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality, actually came up with this. Truth be told, renting any of the aforementioned flicks would be far more fun than sitting through all 106 minutes of Did You Hear About the Morgans?
The problem with the Morgans is that the story set-up is so unappealing from the get-go. In case you've ever wondered how crazy busy life in Manhattan can be, well, Lawrence goes to great lengths to show us (and it's never, ever funny, even if we know we're supposed to laugh).
Not only is the married couple on the rocks, the Blackberry-toting Paul and Meryl Morgan (Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) each have a cute, chatty personal assistant to help them through everything (including their frequent spats), but they barely have time to schedule a dinner (he's a lawyer, she's a high-profile real estate guru) to discuss their future.
Surprisingly, a small window opens up, and Paul and Meryl make their best attempt at reconnecting over dinner. Turns out, Paul cheated on Meryl once during a recent business trip in L.A., and she won't forgive him despite his constant attempts (mostly with over-the-top gifts) to win her back.
In the recent wake of "TigerGate," it normally wouldn't be particularly easy to give Paul any reprieve for his blatant indiscretion. However, since we don't know much about the couple pre-affair, (cue: character development) it's difficult to get overly invested in the will-this-marriage-be-saved situation. If anything, it's impossible to believe these two people would be married in the first place, and the chemistry (or lack thereof) between Grant and Parker does little to convince the audience otherwise.
Per usual, Grant does his charming, bumbling British shtick with aplomb and has a great sarcastic barb for every situation. But given the decidedly one-note nature of his character, not to mention the shrill, unsympathetic workaholic they've made poor Meryl, it's no surprise that the happy ending (hardly a spoiler alert given the genre, right?) doesn't deliver.
Even worse is the abundance of silly clichés associated with small-town living (I mean, c'mon, they've never been anywhere but the Big Apple?) once the Morgans relocate to small-town Wyoming. Forced to head west after witnessing a murder, Paul and Meryl are now in custody of federal witness protection and hating every minute of it. Watched over by a crusty old sheriff (Sam Elliot) and his Annie Oakley gun-toting wife (Mary Steenburgen), these city slickers can't imagine a life without e-mail, let alone takeout that's available 24 hours a day. But as you probably suspected, the lack of technology, not to mention no more long hours at the office, actually starts bringing them closer together.
Yet while it's supposed to be all cute and swoon-worthy when Paul and Meryl start bonding again, anyone with half a brain, let alone a beating heart, realizes that it takes more than a few jogs together and a surprisingly fun day at the gun range to get over the sheer horror of not being able to trust your spouse, whether you love each other or not. And the way the script glosses over the real struggle here is not only not funny, it's downright embarrassing for everyone involved.
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