Marc Lawrence has made a few decent romantic comedies in the past. He’s done Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice, and Forces of Nature. They aren’t anything to write home about, but they are O.K. So going into this, I was expecting much of the same, and considering all the hype I’ve been hearing about Did You Hear About The Morgans, I allowed myself to hope this one would possibly do well and dish out the laughs.
Like many films this past year, this one really surprised me. Unfortunately, this time it was for the worse. Sometimes it’s annoying, often it’s predictable, but mostly it’s just plain boring. Most of the funny parts are in the beginning and the rest just feels like filler. Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant can be seen trying on occasion to save the the movie from the poorly written script, but the rest of the time you can tell they kind of gave up on it.
Meet the Morgans: Meryl and Paul are a Manhattan married couple who have been separated for 3 months due to Paul’s infidelity. Paul has been trying desperately to talk with her, but they are both busy successful people. He finally talks her into going to dinner with him (an event their personal assistants have to arrange) and whoops! they witness a murder. Now the two are whisked away by the Feds into the Witness Protection Program to their dismay. This means no phones, no Blackberries, no assistants, no contact. They are forced into spending quality time in a tiny town in Wyoming. They stay with U.S. Marshal Clay Wheeler (Sam Elliot) and his wife Emma (Mary Steenburgen).
Lawrence tries to play the cultural-clash card here; The Morgans are New York Democrats, mostly vegetarian, attached to their cell phones etc., and the Wheelers are gun-toting, deer hunting, John Wayne watching Republicans. I was surprised here because the Wheelers weren’t really all that exaggerated. I mean, if you have lived out here in Missouri, you either know someone who has a house like theirs or you have one yourself. They lived in a nice rustic looking house, had a moderate amount of deer meat in the fridge, and just a few stuffed heads on the wall, but not that many. They drove trucks, had a few guns, and shopped at a version of Sam’s Club. There were no outhouses. No buck-toothed kids in coveralls. No creepy gomers. Everyone in the town were just normal friendly people from the Midwest. But the Morgans were acting as though they couldn’t fathom how people could live the way they do. What, be nice to strangers? Not have cable TV in every room? Only one doctor in the whole town? It was ridiculous that they thought this was such a backwards place to live.
So not only were the culture-shock antics not that funny, but neither was the interaction between the Morgans as they apparently begin to rekindle their marriage. Basically, he’s sorry and she’s disappointed, over and over and over. They kept rehashing the same fight about 25 different times, all just a little reworded. He apologizes and she’s still disappointed, so he apologizes some more. Ugh. Seriously, this film was 93 minutes of filler after the first 10 minutes of mild humor. Usually, Parker and Grant do pretty well in their respective comedies, but here they are left no room to maneuver. Neither of their characters are allowed to grow past their shallow personalities. Grant basically shrugs his shoulders, makes stiff gestures, and bumbles around in an insecure British accent, and Parker is naive about the ways of the country folk. That’s it. The ending is not only predictable, but desperately drawn out.
It boils down to an incredibly boring movie. If you want to see a slightly better version of this movie type, rent For Richer or Poorer. Yeah, that’s right — Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley made a funnier movie than this one. What’s the best thing I can say about Did You Hear About the Morgans? It’s not as bad as Old Dogs.
I give Did You Hear About the Morgans? 1 “you’ll be sleeping through this” out of 5.