From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Did You Hear About the Morgans? - D

Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and momentary violence, 103 minutes

Yes we saw "About the Morgans" and it's not good

It's always a tricky thing to have your movie title end with a question. If it's not very good, be prepared for critics like me to make fun of it because it's so bad. And that's the case with the awful new Hugh Grant-Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" With the bad word-of-mouth it's generating, people are likely to stay away in droves to see the far more exciting "Avatar" this weekend. Grant and Parker should leave "Morgans" off their film resumes in the same way Sandra Bullock should forget about "All About Steve," that hideous comedy sandwiched between her big hits this year.

The set up for "Morgans" is an easy one and played in all the trailers for the film, which show the best parts of the film. Grant and Parker play self-absorbed, wealthy New York socialite couple Paul and Meryl Morgan, who are having marital issues and separated and on an evening out trying to patch things up when they're witness to a murder by a well-known killer (Michael Kelly), who's now out to get them. They're placed in witness protection in Wyoming with sheriff and deputy couple Clay and Emma Wheeler (Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen, definitely slumming it here). They're fish-out-of-water escapades will either bring them closer together or further drive apart the already bickering couple.

"Did You Hear About the Morgans" is a horribly flat, derivative comedy that plays to the most annoying aspects of the two stars: Parker's whining and Grant's mugging for the camera. Grant's facial expressions are easier to tune out than Parker's incessant, nasally complaining, and the mismatched pair have zero chemistry together, making it baffling how these two such selfish people were able to get together in the first place. It's meant to be a star vehicle for the two, but the plot is so familiar, unfunny and pointless that "Morgans" ends up a badly edited, disjointed mess, which is a mild surprise given that director and writer Marc Lawrence has worked with Grant twice before, in "Music and Lyrics" and "Two Weeks Notice," both far better films than this.

If you've seen the trailers for the "Morgans," then you've seen the best 2-3 minutes (or less) the film really has to offer. It wastes a talented supporting cast too, in veteran actors Elliott and Oscar-winner Steenburgen, who come across as far more stable, interesting and humorous (not to mention a smidgen creepy) than Parker or Grant. It doesn't help that the unflattering lighting Lawrence uses only highlights Parker's even more unflattering, mannish features. Also wasted is broadway actor Kelly as the bad guy, who somehow manages to track the two down in a series of contrived, rather stupid coincidences.

They go to the ranch. They attempt to ride horses, do manual labor and encounter a bear. They go to the county fair and run from the bad guy. This type of thing has been hundreds of times before in movies, and most of them better than the "Morgans." Grant usually can save a movie by merely looking befuddled, but he looks more confused and angry than befuddled, which will certainly explain audiences reaction to it after they pay money to see it.

"Did You Hear About the Morgans" comes at a bad time when critics tend to remember bad movies most, and "Morgans" may end up on some end-of-year lists, just not the good ones, and will likely end up as one of Parker and Grant's worst films. Stay away from this one and see "Avatar" instead this weekend.