You know that moment in romantic comedies where the two leads come to the realization that, yes, they were meant for each other after going through a series of misadventures? Did You Hear About the Morgans has one, mostly because as a whole it is as generic as they come, but that’s not why it is special.
It is important because of how absolutely god awful it is. Sarah Jessica Parker recites the lines as if she is reading a teleprompter, lighting up words seemingly written by a freshman in high school. There is no sincerity, no chemistry, and sure as hell no connection going on between them at this moment. Shockingly, being run over by a bull named “Killer” at a rodeo while in a bull costume does not a romance make.
Hugh Grant plays Hugh Grant (not a typo), starring alongside Parker, the other half of the separated couple now stuck in a witness protection program. They are both city folk, forced into the very Republican, meat-eatin’, god-fearin’, gun-totin’, bull-ridin’ city of Cody, Wyoming. Cue various “fish out of water” antics and you can tell exactly where this one is headed.
Grant delivers laughs as a sarcastic lawyer, and is only funny due to the witty comebacks. There is no genuine character here, just someone who has the ability to spot an opportunity to say something funny at the right time. He is more of a sarcasm machine than a real person. Even if you include the laughs generated by this weird form of witty-comeback terminator from the future, you are still only laughing at about three percent of the total running time.
One of the highlights of The Morgans is the bear assault, and one can assume this is something with comedic value because the trailers used it every time. The scene is painfully foreshadowed. The first thing the couple sees once they arrive in Cody is a sign that tells them what to do in case a bear approaches them. Into a super market, Grant picks up bear spray and investigates. Into the house, the camera zooms in on Grant’s purchases, of course focused on the spray and the sign they saw on the wall he somehow has in his possession.
That just makes the eventual confrontation already tiresome, and like almost everything concerning this plot, predictable. There is a subplot that literally goes nowhere, cutting back to Grant and Parker’s assistants in New York. They serve their purpose of revealing the location of their bosses, yet the movie still sticks with them to the end. No one in the audience cares if the plot doesn’t.
So yes, we have actually heard about the Morgans, and no, we don’t really care. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
While the opening shot of the New York skyline offers some hope this transfer will be a razor sharp stunner, nothing could be further from the truth. This is incredibly soft once the actors appear on screen. Little or no texture is allowed to show, faces becoming pits of color with almost no depth.
Everything appears a bit processed and smooth, the furthest thing from natural film. Grain is barely noticeable, and certainly not a problem for this AVC encode to digest. Colors are naturalistic, with slightly pale flesh tones adding to the digital look. Weak, and at times gray black levels are also a disappointment.
It is odd, because the mountain photography, including various plants and trees, is decent. Definition of the environment, while not the greatest visuals available on the format, look impressive. The same goes for all later pan shots of the city. How the transfer can deliver perfectly defined, clean lines of skyscrapers yet completely fall apart when showing a striped shirt worn by Parker at 1:15:00 is odd. Car/truck grills also suffer from aliasing and flickering, especially apparent outside the rodeo in the parking lot before the finale. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
Much of what this Sony DTS-HD mix has to offer is ambiance. Immediately outside in New York, the viewer is enveloped by street level audio, including chatter, passing cars, and the occasional siren. Into the open areas of Cody, wildlife is audible on a regular basis across the soundfield. Parties offer general chatter, and a presentation to a charity early has some clapping in all channels.
Music is oddly subdued, even a little flat. There is a definite lack of aggressiveness, and it generally sticks to the stereo channels. A party features a live concert that bucks that trend, offering vibrant definition and fullness that is lacking elsewhere.
A small shootout inside the home features clean, crisp shattering glass and bullets pinging off objects in each channel. Gunfire, while offering no low-end kick, is free of any problems, reproduced cleanly thanks to this uncompressed affair. Dialogue is well prioritized in the mix. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
Writer/director Marc Lawrence offers a commentary track, joined by Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker. This leads into a typical, uninspired 18-minute making of titled Location, Location, Location. Cowboys and Cosmopolitans is an eight minute dissection of the characters you just watched.
Park Avenue Meets the Prarie looks at the clothing used in the film, followed by the best feature, A Bear of a Scene. This five-minute piece looks at the bear, how it was raised, and shows a lot of raw footage from the set. It is genuinely interesting. Two deleted scenes are followed by a nearly seven-minute collection of outtakes. International Special is a promo featurette, followed up (for the finish) by trailers, MovieIQ, and BD-Live access. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Extras]