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Did You Hear About the Morgans?

A lot of people only go out to the movies once a year, and this is that time. So like the holiday buffet table, a multiplex marquee needs to contain a little something for everyone. Did You Hear the Morgans? fills the role of the movie that you can take everyone to see, from the tweenie nieces to Grandma who doesn’t like movies where people swear a lot (by which she of course means in which they swear at all). It’s as bland and familiar as macaroni and cheese, but do you know many people who actually hate macaroni and cheese?

Combining the fish-out-of-water and comedy of remarriage subgenres, Did You Hear the Morgans? stars Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker as a once-happy Manhattan couple on the outs. He wants to get back together, but she has a grudge. They’re meeting to discuss this when they happen to witness a murder, and before you know it they’re whisked off by the federal government to a safe place where the as-yet-unapprehended killer (one of those steely international assassins) won’t be able to find them. That place happens to be in the middle of Wyoming, where there is nothing for them to do but work out their problems.

Did You Hear the Morgans? was written and directed by Marc Lawrence, who in the past decade has become a specialist at this kind of lightweight romantic comedy—he also gave us Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice, and Music and Lyrics. (I assume both Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant have him on retainer.) He’s perfect at writing the kind of self-mocking one-liners that Grant is perfect at delivering. And the casting director did a swell job by hiring Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen to play the Wyoming sheriffs whose job it is to guide these New Yorkers through life without cel phones. (When Parker tells her she’s a vegetarian, Steenburgen replies that she’s also a member of PETA—“People for Eating Tasty Animals.”) It could have been a much better movie if a little more effort had been put into the plotting—the ending is so perfunctory that you get the impression they just wanted to get the thing over with—but if you have to drag a group of people to a movie, you could do worse.

m. faust

Watch the trailer for Did You Hear About The Morgans?

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