Did You Hear About the Morgans?

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Written and directed by Marc Lawrence. Starring Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen.

Let's be honest here: This is little more than meringue-whipped empty calories served alongside the real meat and potatoes at this most award-whoring time of the year at the cineplex. Which is fine. Better than fine, frankly, as Hugh Grant yet again proves he's the most reliable deadpan smart-ass this or that side of the Atlantic—Groucho Marx with a hoitier and toitier accent, nothing less. (Grant's the actor Paul Rudd should aspire to be once he grows out of his bromantic period.) Grant is Paul Morgan, a Manhattan attorney who, with his estranged wife (Sarah Jessica Parker), witnesses a murder and is forced by U.S. marshals into the witness relocation program—how very My Blue Heaven by way of Witness with a dash of Doc Hollywood. How's that for a studio pitch? Their destination: Ray, Wyoming, where they share a log cabin with the sheriff (Sam Elliott and his mustache) and his deputy missus (Mary Steenburgen). At which point the comedy turns blue—as in, blue state versus red state, "real America" versus the one populated by liberal vegetarian New Yorkers and Brits who're probably real Jewish too. (Wilford Brimley, natch, cameos as the café owner without a hint of patience for their kind.) There's even a Sarah Palin joke, damned hippies. And while the story never strays from its connect-the-dots (how, oh, how will these battling Bickersons ever find love again after all that betrayal and...oh, look, a bear's chasing Grant!), it's a thoroughly delightful throwaway—the kind of movie for which cable television was made, from the maker of Music & Lyrics (Marc Lawrence), who knows his way 'round a snappy tune. —Robert Wilonsky

 
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