Hugh Grant can be a delightful charmer, whether he's playing sensitive Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility or sleazy Daniel Cleaver in the BJD films. However, even his calm charisma can not save a truly dull movie and a good example of that is 2009's Did You Hear About The Morgans?
He plays New York lawyer Paul Morgan, whose marriage to top real estate broker Meryl(Sarah Jessica Parker) is at a crossroads due to his infidelity. We first learn of this from the opening credits, where a series of answering machine messages play over the basic black & white title cards, not a great way to engage the audience there.
Paul and Meryl,along with their harried personal assistants(one of which is played by Mad Men's Elizabeth Moss, such a waste of her time and talent here) arrange a dinner meeting to work out a reconciliation which goes nowhere. Frankly, I find it hard to imagine Hugh Grant and SJP agree to share a lunch table together, let alone a married couple!
After dinner, the two of them walk over to a building where Meryl is supposed to meet a client of hers and the Morgans witness him fall to his death with a knife in his back. They get a glimpse of the hit man who tries to shoot them-why would a hit man with a loaded gun stab his target in the back? Why would he let the guy go out on the balcony in the first place? The worst Law & Order episode is better written than this.
Considering that she had to climb down into a balcony to escape a killer, Meryl gives lame reasons for not wanting to leave New York such as finding good bagels-"I don't even like the ones in Connecticut!" She's not thrilled with being sent off with Paul either but by this point, I was rooting for the hit man to find them.
It becomes clear early on that Grant is meant to be the straight man to SJP's hysterics , leading to supposed comedy bits that are painful to watch. Upon arriving in Wyoming, they met up with the about to retire U.S. Marshall and his deputy wife(Sam Elliot and Mary Steenburgen, who actually seem compatible together) assigned to protect them which sets off a number of small town/big city jokes that wilt and die before our eyes and ears:
While Grant's low key gripes are annoying, SJP really stands out with her constant freak-outs about not being in New York and being repeatedly stunned that everything is not like New York, from the lack of vegan food to discovering that Omaha is considered a big city-yes,Dorothy, you're not in the Big Apple anymore!:
One of the worst bits involves Paul dealing with a bear, which is set up from the get-go at the rural airport with all of the creaky finesse of a game of Mousetrap that you found in the back of a closet with some of the pieces missing. I was seriously rooting for the bear to take them both out for the count. Come to think of it, if the bear and the hit man had teamed up to get rid of the Morgans, that alone would make this a better film.
Another awful element of this movie is the soundtrack that is made up of generic "we wish this was a Nora Ephron film" tunes. This pointless songs either try to fill up pointless montage sequences or pointlessly are thrown into scenes to liven things up like gravy for an overcooked pot roast. Trust me, this music can not add any flavor to the mediocrity on screen:
He's not alone here as Sally Field, Peter Boyle and a good number of future Love Boat guest stars climb aboard this sorry sequel for a soggy cinematic time-don't forget your life boats!: