December 24, 2009

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Did You Hear About the Morgans? (PG-13)
Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker do their best to reinforce the fallacy that all people from the big city are prissy-princess snottypantses in Did You Hear About the Morgans?, an alleged romantic comedy that makes you want to shoot it, stuff it and mount it on the wall in a particularly dank basement.

Because, you see, the sheriff in the small Wyoming town where our two city mice are sent has a log-cabiny house (one, by the way, that most people would kill for in any real estate market) that he, Clay Wheeler (Sam Elliot) and his wife, the gun-loving deputy Emma Wheeler (Mary Steenburgen), have decorated using the mounted heads of various animals she’s shot. Oh, blah-ha-ha-ha, how ridiculous and quaint and also comically horrible because Meryl Morgan (Parker) is a vegetarian member of PETA, as if New York City didn’t have any meat-eaters or people who would happily shoot a bear.

Meryl and her husband Paul Morgan (Hugh Grant) are staying with the Wheelers because they happened to witness a murder and have been hustled into witness protection until the murderer can be caught. This is particularly trying for the Morgans because they are separated and on the verge of divorce. While Paul wants to get back together, Meryl isn’t sure if she can get past his infidelity.

Because if there’s anything more fun than limp stereotypes about people from New York City and people from the sticks, it’s a couple fighting about their marriage. Go schedule that date night now!

Everything, every single last horrible seen-it-before-but-didn’t-laugh-at-it-then moment, everything about this movie is just awful, often to the point of unwatchability. Parker is shockingly bad. She goes from shrewish to scattered to — what is that, her Woody Allen impersonation? Grant seems like a person desperately searching for the door to this mess. Elizabeth Moss — apparently on her days off from kicking ass as Peggy on Mad Men — is painfully ill-used as Meryl’s assistant, and Elliot and Steenburgen perhaps have grounds for some kind of defamation suit. All the characters but particularly the Morgans come off as deeply unlikable, leaving you to wish you could root for the killer, if only his character had been better developed. F

Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and momentary violence. Written and directed by Marc Lawrence, Did You Hear About the Morgans? is an hour and 43 minutes long and distributed in wide release by Sony Pictures.