It's probably predictable of me to tell you that romantic comedy/mild thriller Did You Hear About the Morgans? is itself predictable. Like a lot of lazy rom-coms, it's also rife with cliches and suffering from an ultimately lame plot: a married couple on the outs (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) view a murder and is shipped off to Wyoming as part of the witness protection program.
As flimsy as that sounds in print, it plays out even sillier on screen: the victim Paul and Meryl Morgan see is a man with a knife sticking out of his back, like Clue. Plus, it's a limp contrivance to push the troubled married couple back together, which you know is going to happen by the end of the movie.
But, the film is not without its merits; to see what else I thought, just read more.
Though it's tough to redeem such a poorly put together film, the cast is one strong point. I'll watch Hugh Grant play the same character over and over again just to hear his accent and British humor. Sarah Jessica Parker is always welcome too, even if all I see in her Meryl Morgan is Carrie Bradshaw with a workaholic streak. There's not much sexual chemistry between the two leads, but you can look past it since they're individually so irresistible. Grant and Parker really work with what they're given, which are two very insubstantial characters. Blame the script — the stereotypical Manhattanites seem like they're written by someone with a very cursory knowledge of New York (think jokes about Chinese food delivery).
The Wyoming residents don't have it any better — they love to shoot guns, smoke, and eat meat, much to the chagrin of the transplanted city folk. Again, the only thing that saves these characters is the actors who are inhabiting them: a luminous Mary Steenburgen, Sam Elliott, and everyone's favorite TV grandpa, Wilford Brimley. (Other cast members aren't so lucky: Elisabeth Moss is wasted in the role of Meryl's ball-busting assistant).
The reason you may actually want to watch Did You Hear About the Morgans? is not that it's any great feat of movie-making (it's assuredly not). You'll want to see it if you do like romantic comedies, because it's exactly like everything you've seen. That kind of redundancy can be comforting.
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Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures