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Did You Hear About the Morgans?

2010-01-22 08:58
 
Two rom-com heavyweights can’t find the chemistry as a separated couple forced into the witness protection programme.
Did You Hear About the Morgans?

What it's about:

Meryl and Paul Morgan (played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant) are a highly successful Manhattan couple whose seemingly perfect lives have only one notable failure - their marriage is falling apart. One night they witness a murder, and are placed into the witness protection programme after the killer tracks them down. Seconded to the tiny, gun-friendly town of Ray, Wyoming, the Morgans need to learn to get along to survive their strange new environment, while the assassin remains on their trail.

What we thought:

Who cares about the Morgans, really? You'd be forgiven for getting rather excited about rom-com heavyweights Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant teaming up for a light-hearted frolic through the trials of modern relationships. She's the fashion maven whose sexploits as Carrie Bradshaw inspired a generation of women to love their Jimmy Choos as much as their G-spots; he's the dashing, painfully awkward Brit dish women would love a morsel of.

Put them together, now that we've all become a lot more accustomed to their onscreen schtick over the years, and it's a bit galling as none of it works. Sure, they play a couple who are going through a separation, but it's hard to see how these two ever liked each other, let alone fell in love and got married. It makes it very hard to root for their reconciliation.

The problem lies in the lack of warmth in their scenes together. Meryl is trying very hard to keep Paul at arm's length, even when they are forced to live together again, while Paul is just so, well, British. Watch as Grant grimaces while pleading with Meryl to take him back, watch that same grimace emerge as he jogs along a beautiful country road with his wife, dodges a hail of bullets, and even as he does something as ordinary as climb into bed. You've probably seen robots go at it with more conviction.

We've seen him do it countless times before – it endeared him to the world back in the 90s with Four Weddings and a Funeral and it's become an all-too familiar trick of his trade. It's getting a bit tired now. Where is the ease and cool of his decidedly less romantic roles in Bridget Jones' Diary and About A Boy? Those were the types of roles that showed Grant at his best, and it would be a joy to see him attempt something meatier again.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? is happy to get by as a tepid, predictable piece of fluff. Its lack of actual humour notwithstanding, there are some charming performances from the supporting cast, most notably Mary Steenburgen and the always-compelling Sam Elliot as Emma and Clay Wheeler, the rodeo-lovin' town sheriffs who take the Morgans in and offer their protection. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men's Peggy Olson) is utterly wasted as Meryl's highly strung assistant, who may or may not… oh who are we kidding… is definitely going to hook up with Paul's assistant, Adam. And everyone else around them is just a caricature of the small-town hick.

Everyone involved in Morgans could – and should – do so much better. It's disheartening to see this amount of talent collectively churn out something as mediocre as this.

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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
selma 1/22/2010 1:18 PM
Hugh Can't ACT
Rene 1/22/2010 1:52 PM
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What a boooring movie. Hugh Grant was unwatchable. Waste of my time.
SuckFest2010 1/26/2010 11:33 AM
I couldn't have been the only one hoping that SJP would get shot, right?
Adriaan 1/26/2010 4:40 PM
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Agreed! This was the first movie I walked out on, ever.
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