About the Morgans?
- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Sony Pictures
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
eviewing romantic comedies like “Did You Hear the Morgans?” becomes a bit redundant after a while, because they’re all essentially the same film. They may have different actors playing the roles (though even that’s debatable considering just how many of these movies Hugh Grant has made), but at the end of the day, they all follow the same tired formula. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if it works, but it sure makes it difficult to say anything even remotely original when there wasn’t that much to say to begin with. Though Grant remains as charming and witty as ever, his performance still doesn’t make up for an otherwise generic rom-com that won’t find a very big audience beyond its core female demo.
The British screen vet stars as Paul Morgan, a New York lawyer desperately trying to win back his wife, Meryl (Sarah Jessica Parker), after they separated due to his infidelity. While out at dinner one night to talk things over, they become eye witnesses to a murder and have to immediately leave town under the witness protection program. Jetted off to one of the most remote cities in the country – Ray, Wyoming – the Morgans shack up with the local sheriff (Sam Elliott) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen) while they wait for the U.S. Marshals to catch the killer. As they learn to get accustomed to the rural life, Paul and Meryl slowly fall back in love, unbeknownst to them that the killer is hot on their trail.
You might be curious as to how the killer learns of their location so easily, as it’s one of the silliest, most contrived plot devices ever. There were a number of ways it could have been handled, but writer/director Marc Lawrence clearly chose the lamest of the bunch. I hate to devote an entire paragraph to what amounts to about 20 seconds of film, but when a character reads a phone number out loud as she dials it for the sole purpose of the villain overhearing, that's some pretty lazy storytelling. Not only is it unnecessary, but it ruins a funny character in the process. Channeling a little Peggy Olson into her role as Meryl’s icy assistant, Elisabeth Moss has some of the best lines in the film, but her only reason for being there is to progress the story to its predictable end. What a waste.
The rest of the cast hasn’t been treated any better. Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen continue to play the same boring roles they’ve been typecast in for years, while Sarah Jessica Parker is incredibly annoying as Hugh Grant’s wife. Though the “Sex and the City” star tends to get more abuse than she deserves, she’s very one-dimensional here. Grant, on the other hand, does his usual schtick, and while it’s not one of his stronger performances, he’s easily the best thing about the movie. Of course, having worked with the director twice before (on "Two Weeks Notice" and "Music and Lyrics"), it’s not that surprising, as Lawrence clearly knows Grant’s voice well enough to write to his strengths. “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” still isn't a great rom-com, but if you’re being dragged to see it anyway, at least you'll know it's not a complete disaster.
Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
I wasn’t expecting much in the way of special features for the Blu-ray release of “Did You Hear About the Morgans?,” but Sony has done a great job of putting together some extras that fans of the movie would actually want to watch. Though they don’t really say anything of much interest, director Marc Lawrence and stars Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are clearly enjoying themselves on the film’s audio commentary, and that mood is carried throughout the various production featurettes as well. Along with a standard making-of featurette, there’s also a discussion with the actors about their fellow castmates, a featurette on costume design, and a behind-the-scenes look at filming the bear scene. Rounding out the single-disc effort are some deleted scenes, a gag reel, and an “International Special” that is really just your run-of-the-mill EPK.