Director: Marc Lawrence
Starring: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Elizabeth Moss, Wilfred Brimley
Written by; Marc Lawrence
Running Time: 103 mins
Original UK Cert: PG
Original UK Release: 1st January 2010
Romantic comedies are notoriously a hard genre to pull off. Most of the time they are neither that romantic or not that particularly funny. They also fall into the land of clichés and being unoriginal. Usually the trappings include: a couple who don’t like each other, thrown into a situation where they have to spend a vast amount of time together, in an unfamiliar environment, where they eventually stat falling in love with each other and ride off into the sunset. Marc Lawrence’s tedious Did You Hear About The Morgans? follows these rules so closely, it’s as if it was afraid a police officer was going to arrest it if it deviated from them.
Paul and Meryl Morgan are rich, successful New Yorkers. The couple lives separate lives as Paul was unfaithful to his wife but desperately wants her back. One night, while trying to reconcile their differences, they witness a murder and the killer recognises them, putting them into danger. They are sent to a small town in Wyoming on a witness protection programme, where they have to get use to life outside the big city, the locals, bears and, of course, each other.
Lawrence seems to want to be the king of the rom com, yet doesn’t know the first thing about hitting an original and funny story. His films include Two Weeks Notice, Music and Lyrics and the recent dire The Rewrite, lack any real imagination and any real humour, relying on the strength of his cast to pull of some inkling of chemistry.
Did You Hear About The Morgans? is the worst of the crop, taking a fish-out-of-water format and placing a couple who have very little chemistry together in situations that are oh-so funny (not). Scenes of the couple shooting, riding, running away from bears and hilarious (not) run-ins with the locals, who either seem to be not very bright, or limited with knowledge of life in the city, while the killer is closing in on them, just become increasingly unfunny and somewhat boring.
Of course, we head for that finale where you know that there’s going to be a face-off, you know that it’s going to include all the things they have learned in their time in protected custody, that they are going to be a happy couple once more and everything will be right with the world, while we, the audience, vomit in buckets at such predictable clap-trap.
What would have helped is if the couple in question have the slightest amount of chemistry to carry this nonsense. They don’t. Hugh Grant, who is in everything that Lawrence has directed, puts on his bumbling English upper-class twit act (again) that worked for Richard Curtis so why not keep doing it. It too, has become painfully tiresome, while Sarah Jessica Parker, who captures the greed-ridden New Yorker more obsessed with material things better than anyone, just plays Carrie Bradshaw from Sex And The City, I kid you not! Yet as a team, they hardly crackle and so the humour of the situations are made even worst.
Even seasoned veterans Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen, with their very laid-back approach to acting, seem to almost fall asleep through the movie. The usually excellent Elizabeth Moss, playing Parker’s assistant, is given so little to do, she might as well not bothered even showing up for work.
Did You Hear About The Morgans? is the perfect example of how not to do a rom-com. If you are willing to waste 103 minutes of your life, then so be it. I’d rather not, Did I hear about them? Frankly, I don’t really care!
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