I recently saw 1947’s The Egg and I on television, and I kept thinking about that old comedy as I watched Did You Hear About the Morgans?, a film that aspires to Egg-like humor, with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker playing an estranged couple stuck in Wyoming under the witness protection program. People complain that “they just don’t make movies the way they used to,” but you can’t say Hollywood doesn’t try, and Morgans is a perfect example.
Grant is certainly a better comic actor than Egg’s Fred MacMurray, although Parker is no match for Claudette Colbert. But Grant and Parker can both handle romantic comedy, and the fish-out-of-water plot device never gets old — does it? So why doesn’t this material work better in 2010? I think it’s just a sign of the times.
Sixty years ago, MacMurray’s flirtation with a neighboring rich lady was amusing, whereas Grant and Parker actually cheating on each other is not. And it was okay to poke fun at Ma and Pa Kettle in 1947, but laughing at Wyoming “country folk” who own computers and satellite dishes seems forced and condescending today.
Still, Morgans has its share of genuine chuckles. The movie might not be able to channel Hollywood’s golden age, but it’s fun to watch it try. Grade: C
Director: Marc Lawrence Cast: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Elizabeth Moss, Michael Kelly, Wilford Brimley Release: 2009
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