Image Courtesy of IMPawards.com
Director: Marc Lawrence
Notable Cast: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Elliot, Mary Steenburgen
Romantic comedies come in various styles, and certain styles tend to do better than others simply due to their appeal in a world filled with hopeless romantics looking to hear another fairy tale story. It’s no secret that “boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl only to get girl back in final frame” flicks are quite popular with the female audience, if for no other reason than they tell a story one wishes would happen to them, or at least tells a story that makes you feel good about love and not think about the ‘ever after’ aspect of what happens to the couple after the screen fades to black.
Did You Hear About the Morgans? is one of the other types of rom-com that tells the story pretty much from “boy loses girl due to sleeping with another woman, boy tries to win girl back,” and that puts this type of story up against a wall before it even begins. Sure there are plenty of couples who hit rough patches, and yes, there are couples who do things they regret and hope to find forgiveness from the one they’ve hurt. While it’s good to mix up the genre a bit every so often, these types of romantic comedies aren’t the types that bring women into the theatres in droves. The problem with that is when you knock out your target audience, even if you’ve got a decent enough story to tell, you’ve got a lot of ground to make up right out of the gate. Also, when the word of mouth is decent, more people will often than not just wait for rental.
The story is about Paul (Hugh Grant) and Meryl (Sarah Jessica Parker) Morgan, successful lawyer, and realtor respectively, who are separated when the movie starts due to Paul’s infidelity. At the time we join them Paul is desperate to get time with his wife to try and win back her affections, though their careers allow almost no time for that to happen. Finally, when the two find a time that works mutually, they meet for dinner, only to witness a murder upon walking home from the restaurant. They are quickly put into the witness protection program, as the murder they witnessed was committed by a trained professional who was now out to silence them.
Of course, to spice things up, not only must the two now live together, but they must do so in the exact opposite environment that they’re used to. The fish out of water technique is used a lot in movies, and sometimes it works wonders, and sometimes it doesn’t. Did You Hear About the Morgans? falls somewhere in-between, as it has a good handful of laugh out loud moments, though also has a lot of jokes falling flat along the way. One of the problems is that it almost takes too long for the jokes to pick up, as the first half of the movie swings for the fence only to strike out more than once before the reliever is brought in for the bottom half to try to clean up some of the mess.
One of the high notes of Did You Hear About the Morgans? is Hugh Grant. While he’s played the role before, he always has a great delivery for these types of parts, and if you’re a fan, you’ll be pleased with his performance enough to justify the viewing. Unfortunately, Grant doesn’t do but maybe a movie a year, this being his first since 2007’s Music and Lyrics, which along with this film, was also written by Marc Lawrence. This could be why he put his trust in a script that wasn’t as strong as his previous works, especially another Lawrence written one in Two Weeks Notice. Though after writing for the actor so much, this may be one of the reasons Grant works so well in the film, as the role was tailored for him.
Sarah Jessica Parker, on the other hand, seems suck in Carrie Bradshaw mode. Viewers may have trouble disguising her character in this comedy from her memorable stint on Sex and the City. They share similar tendencies, especially her spiel about being a New Yorker, not knowing anything else but the city life, and being all but willing to die in order to stay in the Big Apple. Parker has her moments, and the chemistry sparks at certain times, though there are a couple of other rom-com actresses who would’ve suited this part better.
Did You Hear About the Morgans? isn’t a great romantic comedy, though it isn’t entirely a miss. With Grant not showing in theatres so often, fans of his will likely want to at least check it out; however be forewarned that you’re seeing it for him and not the story, which doesn’t rise above average and can’t compete with some of the stronger romantic comedies that have been on the market this past year.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):
Tags: Hugh Grant, Romantic Comedy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City