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Did You Hear About the Morgans?

A 2009 romantic comedy directed by Marc Lawrence starring Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker.

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I wish I'd never heard about the Morgans

  • Mar 21, 2010
I'm sure there are some who, for whatever reasons, will connect with this film and love it. More will be moderately amused, perhaps a bit nonplussed, and then promptly forget almost everything about this unmemorable flick. While I can't quite understand the first reaction, and while I can sympathize with the second since it's probably not worth it to get worked up about a movie, in what follows I only want to speak for my own experience, and why I found this film not only bad but obnoxiously so, to the point where it makes me cynical about Hollywood. There are so many brilliant writers out there, and so many good actors, and so many filmmakers that have original visions and interesting stories that could be told about so many things that I have to find it sad this movie got funded and filmed by the studios. Just take a look at the many wonderful independent and international films that play at Sundance or Cannes or Toronto, and then never really manage to play in the major theaters in America, because they are allegedly aiming at a narrow niche audience -- since when did excellent storytelling and powerful artistry become a niche market? -- but this one is as niche as it comes.

Somehow someone in Hollywood is convinced that a broad swath of the moviegoing public wants to hear stories about pampered, annoying, well-to-do city folk, on the brink of divorce, who somehow discover that they really do love one another after being put into a witness protection program in small town Wyoming, and also connect with good old town home American country values along the way? More likely, someone is convinced that there's a fair market for Sarah Jessica Parker or Hugh Grant "comedies" and it doesn't matter whether they're any good. I've seen a few of these "fish out of water" comedies about couples who reconnect when they (temporarily) lose everything, and this one has to be by far the worst. Chock full 'o cliches and hamfisted delivery of life's lessons, it was painful to watch. Like the moment when Sarah Jessica Parker's character is searching for marriage advice from the reticent Sam Elliot, and misconstrues his advice about how to milk a cow as profound psychological insight. Then, just to make sure the audience gets it, Parker's character points out that the advice is truly profound, and then spells out literally how what he said applies to her situation (something about breaking it to your spouse gently when you've cheated on them), and Elliot explains that he was really talking about the cow (something about pulling softly on the cow's teat so it doesn't kick you), but that he guesses you could take it both ways -- this film is a far cry from the screwball "comedies of remarriage" from classic Hollywood days when the writers expected their audiences to catch the puns and understand the double-entendres. By the way, I don't begrudge Elliot taking this role, since he's sadly underused, and his character is one of the few things that makes this film semi-palatable. Of course, nearly every little nugget of wisdom he utters in his gruff and sardonic manner turns out sounding profound, and has the merit of sounding smarter than almost anything said by the leading couple. The worse thing was, this comedy just didn't manage to be funny. For all they tried to milk comedy out of the incongruities of city folk in the country -- Hugh Grant gets his eyes sprayed by bear repellent ... twice!!!! -- I'd seen funnier variations of all of it many times before.

It's not just the bad writing, but I have to say Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant are pretty annoying to watch here. They aren't acting, but pretty much just playing more incompetent and more insecure versions of the usual characters they play in just about everything they're in. I've never much liked them in anything -- though Hugh Grant managed to play a few decent roles (e.g. Four Weddings and a Funeral and, maybe, Bridget Jones's Diary) before he became a stereotype of himself (and then, maybe, one more in About a Boy); and though I'm no fan, Sarah Jessica Parker managed to fit well enough in her role in the Sex and the City series -- but I can say in all honesty that I've never seen them much worse. I'm pretty sure, at least, that Hugh Grant can't possibly be proud of what he accomplished with this role since he seems hardly to believe half of the sappy things he says, and seems genuinely embarrassed by the self-deprecating antics he has to go through this time around. I don't usually write reviews of films I hate, since I'd much prefer to spread the word about under-appreciated but excellent indies and international films; in this case, after renting it with my wife I thought it was the least I could do to warn others against wasting two precious hours of their lives.

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August 25, 2010
Excellent review! Yes, the words "obnoxious" and "annoying" certainly came to mind as I watched this movie.
More Did You Hear About the Morgans... reviews
review by . December 12, 2010
some spoilers)      I really wish that I had not heard about the morgans. The creators of this film tried to take the fish-out-of-water concept which has been done tons of times to varying degrees of success, and just made it suck. There may have been one or two incidences where I may have giggled, but most of the jokes just flatlined. There was also little to no chemistry between Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, and just blatant southern stereotypes in place of characters.   …
review by . August 25, 2010
Been there, seen that
When New Yorkers Meryl and Paul Morgan see a murder, they're whisked away to rural Wyoming in the witness protection program. The problem is...besides hating country life, they're on the verge of divorce.      The plot for this comedy was so predictable, I could picture the check list: Squabbling couple, murder, witness protection, rustic hide-out with good folks who become close friends, all leading to a happy ending. It was so corny it was almost insulting. Jessica …
Quick Tip by . September 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Strong performances by Elliot, Steenburgen, and Grant. Parker does put in a good effort. However, the movie does not quite work as the characters are written very 2 dimensionally. No amount of effort from this fine cast can save this movie. Even Grant's charm does not make up for the many short comings of this film. Some of the best parts are when the assistants of Parker's character act like Keystone cops trying to run her office without her there.
review by . February 24, 2010
This film is a solid two-star, middle-of-the-road film. Adequately entertaining, charming and amusing in some spots and predictable and annoying in others.       I viewed it with four twenty-something girls. They all liked it better than I did and thought it was funny and sweet and all thought that the negative reviews were overdone.       The negative reviews I've heard were mostly about the lack of spark between the Morgans, Paul and Meryl. I thought Grant …
review by . March 23, 2010
Director Marc Lawrence's 2009 comedy "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" features the usually sleekly coiffed and fashionably glamored Sarah Jessica Parker as an older and slightly more pinched Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex and the City" fame and her estranged husband, an unfaithful Mr. Big character played by the one time charming Hugh Grant in a vapid cliched romp absolutely devoid of chemistry and badly timed jokes.    In an attempt to discuss their failed marriage, the Morgans sit …
review by . February 24, 2010
This film is a solid three-star, middle-of-the-road film. Adequately entertaining, charming and amusing in some spots and predictable and annoying in others.    I viewed it with four twenty-something girls. They all liked it better than I did and thought it was funny and sweet and all thought that the negative reviews were overdone.    The negative reviews I've heard were mostly about the lack of spark between the Morgans, Paul and Meryl. I thought Grant (Paul) …
About the reviewer
Nathan Andersen ()
Ranked #68
I teach philosophy at Eckerd College, in Saint Petersburg, Florida.      I run an award-winning International Cinema series in Tampa Bay (www.eckerd.edu/ic), and am co-director of … more
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Did You Hear About the Morgans? is a 2009 comedy film written and directed by Marc Lawrence, and starring Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker. The film was released in North America on December 18, 2009 by Columbia Pictures. The film is rated PG-13 for some sexual references and momentary violence by the MPAA.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? follows a highly successful Manhattan couple, Meryl and Paul Morgan (Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant), whose almost-perfect lives have only one notable failure – their dissolving marriage. But the turmoil of their romantic lives is nothing compared to what they are about to experience: they witness a murder and become targets of a contract killer. The Feds, protecting their witnesses, whisk away the Morgans from their beloved New York to a tiny town in Wyoming, and a relationship that was on the rocks threatens to end completely in the Rockies ... unless, in their new BlackBerry-free lives, the Morgans can slow down the pace and rekindle the passion.

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Director: Marc Lawrence
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2010
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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