"Did You Hear About the Morgans?" is the latest from writer/director Marc Lawrence ("Music and Lyrics", "Two Weeks Notice".) "Morgans" has a decent concept and a couple of great supporting efforts. However, the film has one main issue: it's a little serious for a comedy.
The film stars Grant and Parker as Paul and Meryl (and Parker kind of looks like she could be a Meryl), a successful Manhattan couple - she's a high-powered real estate broker and he's a lawyer. However, due to infidelity on his part, the two have recently separated. Walking together in order to meet one of her clients one night after she's given a charity speech, the two witness a murder and soon realize that they are in danger.
The police soon put them into the witness protection program and the Morgans head out to Wyoming under a new name, looked after by sheriff Clay Wheeler (Sam Elliott) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen). The movie doesn't really seem to know where to head: it attempts fish-out-of-water bits (a bit where the Morgans visit a Costco-like store for the first time is a funny concept, but the bit starts to wander in search of a punchline that it never really finds.)
One scene has Parker's character being presented a plate of bacon, eggs and whatnot, and she tells her hosts that she's a vegetarian. In another scene, the two are stunned when they see all the stars in the night sky. There's a few moments like this in the film where I think there was supposed to be a joke there, but it never really materializes. It just is - the whole movie is similar; it's not entirely terrible, but it's not good either - it's just flat.
Paul gives Meryl a CD of NYC city sounds to make her feel more comfortable. There should have been a scene where she plays it and there's horns and other sounds, then the "Sex and the City" theme song played and she reacted as if she's heard it somewhere before. Something.
Without culture clash-style differences focus on, the movie turns its focus towards watching the couple repair their relationship (a whole discussion of their problems and whether or not they would have adopted/will adopt...), which doesn't work terribly well, as much of it feels kind of serious and dreary. While the two as an on-screen couple are a better pairing than I'd expected, both actors seem elsewhere - especially Grant, who is unusually toned down in his role. The result is that one wishes the two would just patch things up already. The issue is made to seem worse by the presence of Elliot and Steenburgen, who really do seem as if they're really enjoying their roles.
"Morgans" certainly had potential to a genuinely amusing lightweight comedy about an estranged city couple having to patch things up in the smallest of small towns, but it doesn't manage it - it tries to be a comedy, but gets weighed down by the relationship drama. Great scenery, though. Great scenery.
VIDEO: "Morgans" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. While a few flaws appear, this is otherwise quite a nice presentation of the film. Sharpness and detail are usually quite good, although there are a few low-light scenes that look a bit softer.
More notable issues include some mild edge enhancement visible in some scenes, as well as a few traces of artifacting. No print flaws were spotted, nor were any additional concerns. Colors looked natural and pure, with nice saturation and no smearing. And again, great scenery.
SOUND: The film is presented in DTS-HD 5.1. Aside from a few instances of light ambience, the surrounds largely remained quiet - understandable, given the nature of the material. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and clear, well-recorded score.
EXTRAS: Actors Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are joined by writer/director Marc Lawrence for a commentary for the film. The two actors do offer some good riffs on the film and occasional insights on the production. While not as entertaining a commentary as I'd hoped, it has its moments (Parker talks about barely remembering working with Grant on "Extreme Measures" in 1996 and Grant has a few wisecracks about his performance.) We also get a set of featurettes: "A Bear of a Scene", "Location, Location, Location", "Park Avenue Meets the Prairie" and "Cowboys and Cosmopolitans".
We also get a set of deleted scenes and a blooper reel (complete with one scene where Grant and Parker laugh throughout the length of the scene.) Previews for other titles from the studio are also offered, as are BD-Live enabled features (including MovieIQ.)
Final Thoughts: "Morgans" had potential to be an amusing comedy about a recently separated big city couple forced to be together in a small town, but the movie is unfocused and the two leads have been better elsewhere. The movie has a few moments and a couple of very good supporting performances, but it could have been better. The Blu-Ray presentation offers solid audio/video quality, as well as a nice selection of extras. Still, those interested should rent first.
The Film C