Did You Hear About the Morgans?

New Yawker Relocated

         
 

18 December 2009| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Gimmicky but lazily watchable. Tailor-made stars (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) and a kind of fish out of water totes up Did You Hear About the Morgans? The key face expressions require Hugh Grant to look befuddled and Sarah Jessica Parker to look inconvenienced.

The Morgans are a separated New York married couple heading towards divorce. Paul made a mistake that Meryl cannot forget (Yes, that kind of mistake). Paul wants her back so he beckons her to join him for dinner. Afterwards they witness a murder where the hitman negligently sticks his head out on the balcony where he’s seen. Now the Morgans have to enter the Witness Protection Program which will require them to adapt to rural Wyoming lifestyle. You can count on a hitman arriving at the climax to terminate the Morgans.

By requirement, the Morgans now go by the surname Fosters which is an inconvenience, for certain. But worse the two of them are not allowed to make phone calls back home or use the internet. These are federal protection rules administered by Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen, who play a U.S. Marshall and a deputy respectively. Elliott and Steenburgen are long-time married, and so they soon after serve as surrogate therapists to the Morgans.

As a performer, Grant has always had a gift for depicting delicate discomfort. He underplays his discomfort here, ever so slightly squirming in the tenseness of his face, and yet redeemably speaks cordially and gratefully to his hosts Elliott and Steenburgen. The stuttering Brit from “Love Actually” and “Music and Lyrics” is still on display here, finding notes of forced politeness among an unwanted setting.

On the other hand, Parker is neurotic with a lack of modulation. This is an actress always high-pitched, and either whiny or flustered. Really, this is not far different from her latter years “Sex and the City” episodes. This strident neuroticism is certainly what the script called for, and it is permissible to say that Parker has a knack for playing these kind of New Yorkers. The kind that have never left their own zip code.

In some of the broad segments Grant and Parker learn to jog in fresh air, shoot a rifle, ride horseback and run from bears. Several consecutive episodes got me laughing although there was this nagging sensation that I wasn’t completely satisfied. No it wasn’t the occasional pokey pacing that got me. It was the idea that this is a pro forma romantic comedy and the romance part didn’t do it for me. I didn’t care if the two of them resolved their issues or not (although the scene where Grant recites his own original poetry as a riff on his wedding vows was charming). Perhaps Paul and Meryl are convincing New York types, but just not convincing together. Forget the romance, but I will endorse this as a halfway decent comedy of two New Yorkers dislocated in horse country.

103 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

CHEESY COMEDY / SCENIC LOCALES / LAZY AFTERNOON COUCH MOVIE

Film Cousins: “Running on Empty” (1988); “State and Main” (2000); “Music and Lyrics” (2007); “Witless Protection” (2008).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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