The Good: It DOES end!
The Bad: Not funny, Very predictable character arcs, Terrible acting, Lame plot
The Basics: Dreadfully unfunny, Did You Hear About The Morgans? is a stiff comedy without any humorous moments, which fails to do anything new.
Every now and then, I encounter something that is very pure. I have an experience that is so great or so bad that it leaves me with little to write objectively about. If it is a good experience, I can simply gush about the experience, but I end up feeling stupid and repetitive. On the converse, when something is so bad, I sometimes get to feeling I am kicking it when it is down when I begin to critically analyze it. Did You Hear About The Morgans? falls into that second category. The film is homogeneously bad, which actually leaves me with very little to write about it. And rather than be creative, I want to write one sentence and let that be the ultimate review of this film. That line is:
I did not laugh a single time during Did You Hear About The Morgans? That is all.
Paul and Meryl Morgan have lost the passion in their marriage. While they are very successful in their respective careers, they have no real love for one another and they do not communicate with each other. So, as they move toward their inevitable divorce, they begin to drift and make plans apart. But the demise of their marriage takes an odd turn: one night while out they become witnesses to a mob murder and they suddenly find themselves the targets of a trained assassin! The FBI, needing their witnesses to survive, relocates the Morgans to Wyoming.
Once in Wyoming, Meryl and Paul discover they can do nothing but wait for the FBI to apprehend the contract killer and for the murderer to go to trial. This means they must give up their New York City technologies and lifestyles and learn the slower pace of the Midwest. And under those conditions, their marriage suddenly gets new life.
What to say about Did You Hear About The Morgans? The film is not funny, not clever, not original, nor is it a showcase of the talents of any of the people involved. Hugh Grant is particularly stiff as Paul Morgan and he lacks any sense of his comic timing which made him famous or worth watching in other productions. Similarly, Sarah Jessica Parker can hardly be said to be acting as she is once again playing an uptight New Yorker who is busy beyond belief and entirely superficial. Hers is evidence of good casting more than anything like good acting.
As for the character development, I struggle not to say "there is none." There is character development: the protagonists are not in the same place at the end of the film that they are in the beginning. But the arcs are disgustingly predictable from the overwhelming sense of conflict at the beginning to the forced shared menace/conflict to the mutual frustration in Wyoming which helps bring Paul and Meryl together. The only thing more canned than the regular characters is the appearance of the generic sidekicks in Wyoming in the form of Clay and Emma Wheeler. They serve as guides to deliver the unfunny punchlines ("x doesn't work out here, neither does y") which the viewer sees coming miles away.
And the whole team of FBI agents and U.S. Marshals is comprised of people who could not possibly have made it to where they are supposed to be. And while middle America might be thrilled that there's a movie where their good ole ways are the cure for the Eastern Liberal quandaries of Paul and Meryl, the truth is no one is made more fun of than those same middle Americans in Did You Hear About The Morgans?
I went into this film having seen only a single preview, which didn't impress me and the full film completely lived down to the expectations from the trailer. Hasn't the whole "fleeing from the trained killer fish-out-of-water" comedy been done before? It has and the fundamental problem with Did You Hear About The Morgans? is that it is done again without anything new, original or even a decent sense of humor to it. Instead, this is a particularly droll comedy and the punchline is only on the viewer and the joke is that the studio got your eight bucks if you watch this.
On DVD, Did You Hear About The Morgans? includes the usual bonus features: deleted scenes, a commentary track, and trailers. I could not force myself to watch any of them, I cared so little about this movie.
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© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.