The right actors, wrong screenplay

What possible reason was there for anyone to make Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Hugh Grant

Did You Hear About The Morgans?

One and a half stars

Rating: PG-13 (for some sexual references and momentary violence).

What possible reason was there for anyone to make Did You Hear About the Morgans? Or should I say “remake,” because this movie has been made over and over again, and oh, so much better. Feuding couple from Manhattan forced to flee town, find themselves Fish Out of Water in Strange New World, meet Colorful Characters, survive Slapstick Adventures, end up Together at the End.

The only part of that formula that still works is The End.

I grant you Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker evoke charm in the right screenplay.

This is the wrong screenplay.

I concede that Sam Elliott is always welcome, except in that one eerie role he played without his mustache.

I agree Mary Steenburgen is a merry and fetching lass.

I realize yet once again the durable validity of Siskel’s Question: Is this movie more entertaining than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?

Grant and Parker play Paul and Meryl Morgan, a wealthy Manhattan couple, childless, but they hope to adopt.

This virtually guarantees a cute little orphan in the final reel. She is Manhattan’s No. 1 “boutique Realtor.”

One night they’re going together to show one of her multimillion-dollar properties when they witness her client being pushed from its balcony by a mean-looking villain.

He gets a good look at them. It was an important murder. Of course they must be sealed inside the Witness Protection Program and shipped out West, to where the men are men and the women are happy of it. In this strange new world where the men wear cowboy hats and the women bake, will they find themselves in a rodeo? Let’s put it this way.

The close-up of a local rodeo poster and the matching shot of Hugh Grant squinting at it virtually guarantee that.

Saints preserve us! Not another one of those movies where Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker end up as the front and back halves of the rodeo clowns’ cow suit!

What’s that you say? This is the first one where they’ve been inside the cow? Does it feel that way to you? What’s that you say? You bet they’ll be chased by a bear? Come on, now: Surely only one of them!

Paul and Meryl (unusual name, that; where did they find it?) end up as the houseguests of Clay and Emma Wheeler (Elliott and Steenburgen), the local sheriff and his deputy. Now that’s clever thinking!

Where better to hide Protected Witnesses than as the guests of the local law enforcement couple. Of course, Clay and Emma are hard to spot as they patrol on their horses with rifles and cowboy hats and mustaches and whatnot.

Paul and Meryl are dudes without a ranch.

The small town embraces them. It’s in Wyoming, I think someone said, and of course it has all of Wyoming’s friendliness: The locals turn out with open arms, as they always do when two East Coast Elites hit town and start asking people in the local cafe to refrain from smoking.

Why, look! There, at the next table! It’s Wilford Brimley!

Smoking!

It’s not every day one movie offers the two most famous mustaches in Hollywood.

Well, you’ll never be able to guess what happens then.

And whether the villain turns up.

And whether anyone is chased by a bear. And whether Paul and Meryl go to the rodeo.

And what kind of an animal they wind up playing the front and back halves of.

And whether they adopt a cute little orphan.

And whether that mean old Wilford Brimley ends up grudgingly liking them after all.

And whether he ever stops smoking. But one thing’s for sure. You’ll feel like you’ve already heard about the Morgans.

Roger Ebert is a syndicated Chicago Sun-Times movie critic.

Just Posted

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Woman has finger ripped off at West Edmonton Mall waterslide

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her… Continue reading

Uncertainty looms over Canada’s cannabis tourism, but ambitions are high

TORONTO — Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven… Continue reading

Feds mulling safeguards to prevent ‘surge’ of cheap steel imports into Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government extended an olive branch of sorts to… Continue reading

Ontario govt caps off summer session by passing bill to cut Toronto council size

TORONTO — The Ontario government passed a controversial bill to slash the… Continue reading

Updated:Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

MILAN — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of… Continue reading

Saudi Arabia spat affecting Canadians embarking on hajj, community members say

TORONTO — Members of Canada’s Muslim community say recent tensions between Ottawa… Continue reading

Tug carrying up to 22,000 litres of fuel capsizes in Fraser River off Vancouver

VANCOUVER — The smell of diesel filled the air as crews worked… Continue reading

Nebraska executes first inmate using fentanyl

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska carried out its first execution in more than… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month