Did you hear about the Morgans? (2009)
Directed by: Marc Lawrence | 103 minutes | drama, comedy, romance | Actors: Sarah Jessica Parker, Hugh Grant, Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Kelly, Seth Gilliam, Kim Shaw, Peter Conboy, Mario D’Leon, David Call, Chad Brummett, Vincenzo Amato, Henry Herman, Beth Fowler, Hristo Hristov, Rob Yang, Steven Boyer, Jesse Liebman, Gracie Lawrence, Robert Feeley, Elwood L. Hoyt, Chad DeGroot
Long, long ago, Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant seemed to be working together. Both auditioned for ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ (1994). Grant, as is well known, got the lead role and had his big break; Parker, on the other hand, had to leave the role to Andie MacDowell. And luckily! This film proves that Grant and Parker are absolutely not a good duo…
In ‘Did You Hear About the Morgans?’ New Yorkers Paul and Meryl Morgan (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) both run successful businesses. He as a lawyer and she as a real estate agent. What is less successful is their marriage. A divorce is in the offing, they already live separately and making an appointment to talk to each other is almost impossible. Their agendas are managed by their personal assistants and they don’t care about ‘private sores’. Business comes first! Still, Paul manages to tempt Meryl to dinner, which doesn’t change things in any way.
Afterwards, Meryl has to go straight to a customer and Paul decides to walk along. However, this customer is murdered before their eyes and the perpetrator (Michael Kelly) has seen Paul and Meryl witness this! Because Meryl only just manages to escape this hit man, the police decide that they should both participate in the witness protection program: on the plane to a then unknown destination and for an indefinite period of time. Without a telephone, without a laptop and without permission to contact ‘home’. They eventually end up in the countryside with Clay (Sam Elliott) and Emma Wheeler (Mary Steenburgen). Rural people who take good care of them, but lead a very different life than the urban Paul and Meryl. But the worst is; Paul and Meryl are (again) completely dependent on each other!
This film raises high expectations among lovers of romantic comedies. Hugh Grant may have been made for the genre, the film’s premise is as far-fetched as it is funny, and placing urban careerists in a rural setting usually makes for fun scenes. In addition, director Marc Lawrence can boast of the necessary experience, given his share in successful films such as ‘Miss Congeniality’ (2000) and ‘Two Weeks Notice’ (2002).
Nothing could be further from the truth. “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” has really become a dragon of a movie! In the first place, it is a story of nothing. Not well thought out, not well developed and as soon as the main characters arrive in Wyoming all originality is gone. From that moment on it seems more like a rehash of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ (2002). The assassin who is after the Morgans is a burglar level from the ‘Home Alone’ franchise and does not cause any tension in any way. Downright laughable. Infantile might be a better word. It is rarely funny.
Hugh Grant’s tricks and facial expressions quickly become irritating; we know that about him now. It’s too easy, too predictable. In terms of timing, he is in any case still on the right side of the line – that may also be expected of him – and that can certainly not be said of Sarah Jessica Parker. She is mostly very busy with herself, without even having the slightest idea that she is in a romantic comedy. She is only funny once and you as a viewer never understand what Paul sees in her. Not the other way around…
Rarely have we seen such a failed love duo on the silver screen. The only characters who still seem a bit ‘real’ in this movie are Clay and Emma and that is definitely the credit of Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen. After all, the script didn’t help them much.
“DYHATM?” is a childish, bad story full of clichés and actors who are either unsuitable (Parker) or who don’t know where to look here (Grant). It may be clear that you as a viewer will not enjoy yourself for more than twenty minutes. “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” If not, you certainly haven’t missed anything!