It is hard to believe that Hugh Grant hasn’t had a film out since 2007’s Music and Lyrics, and that the quintessential British romance heart throb had not yet starred in a romantic comedy with Sarah Jessica Parker. On paper the pairing seems great, but in reality how does it turn out? Unfortunately, their stars which shine so brightly with other co-stars falter, and leave us with a dull run of the mill romantic comedy.
Did You Hear About the Morgans? tells the story of two New Yorkers who are going through a separation, well on their way to a divorce. Paul Morgan (Hugh Grant) is a high profile New York lawyer, with a slightly sarcastic streak who made a big mistake by cheating on his wife Meryl (Sarah Jessica Parker). Meryl of course feels the need to move on, while Paul sputters about trying to win back the affection he has lost earlier. While on the way home from a meeting about their separation, the two encounter a murder and must be entered into the Witness Protection program. From here on out the film becomes a standard fare fish out of water comedy while trying to hide from the assassin of the murder they witnessed.
It is always unfortunate when two bankable stars show to have little chemistry between each other. You have seen them work so well with many other people, what is stopping them now? Is it a lazy script? A phoned in performance for a paycheck? Bad directing? The problem here could be all of those things. Grant’s character is his well established stuttering slightly effeminate Brit, and Parker is her well established uptight Jewish New Yorker. The actors almost seem to be self aware to the fact that they are playing their own cliches, which drowns the comedy in performances that are almost embarrassing.
Not only are the main roles wasted, but great character actors such as Sam Elliot and Mary Steenburgen are underutilized too. Although, the two’s performances rank among the best in the film, mainly because theirs is a chemistry that works.
Marc Lawrence who is famous for his romantic comedies such as the Miss Congeniality series, Two Weeks Notice, etc. crafts a movie so devoid of laughs and true emotion that it is at times painful to sit through. The last half of the film drops so far into absurdity that it is hard to describe. The rising action occurs for just a short period of time, only to come crashing down with a horseshoe.
Even most romantic comedy buffs will have trouble sitting through this one. With a holiday season that is packed with films, there is just too much else to see. In a less crowded point of the year this might have been an acceptable movie to take a date to (if you want the relationship to end badly…), but with so many quality films out this one is a good one to skip.