Monday, 21 December 2009


Now Showing
Sony Pictures

You know you're in trouble when the premise for your comedy – a happily unmarried couple who witness a murder are forced into protective custody and sent to a locale foreign to their way of life – has been done before with Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley – and was funnier.

I'm not sure if the blame lies with the hackneyed premise, writer-director Marc Lawrence (Two Weeks' Notice, Music and Lyrics), or the two leads, Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, but something is missing from Did You Hear About The Morgans? that makes any attempt at humour fall flat.

The Morgans (Grant and Parker), successful New Yorkers, have separated following lawyer Paul's infidelity. Meryl, a successful real estate broker, is less enthusiastic about a reunion than Paul but following an enjoyable dinner they take a walk only to witness said murder. In no time at all they are whisked away to Wyoming and under the protective custody of Sheriff Clay Foster (Sam Elliott) and his gun-toting wife Emma (Mary Steenburgen).

Cue fish-out-of-water jokes, including bears, firearms and – gulp – bargain barns. And there's the vast open plains of Wyoming that will either inspire a reconciliation or drive the couple mad. Or the viewer. After about 15 minutes of this, I'd wished I had the phone number of the hitman pursuing the Morgans so I could divulge their location and have him put us all out of our misery. Did I mention the film was painfully unfunny?

Speaking of pain, Grant spends the entire film looking as though he has taken one too many painkillers for a back complaint. Maybe that's why he also appears to be speaking an octave lower than usual? Sarah Jessica Parker looks equally unenthused to be there. SJP fans can only hope she'll perk up for Sex and the City 2 next year.

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