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Did You Hear About the Morgans? (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 9, 2010 by  



An entertaining pairing between Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker but a few problems in terms of the plot and acting makes “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” a decent romantic comedy at best.

© 2009 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Beverly Blvd LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Did you hear about the Morgans?

DURATION: 103 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English, French (OC) 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Some Sexual References and Momentary Violence)

RELEASE DATE: March 30, 2010

Directed by Marc Lawrence

Written by Marc Lawrence

Executive Producer: Anthony Katagas, Ryan Kavanaguh

Producer: Liz Glotzer, Sara Woodhatch

Co-Producer: Melissa Wells

Associate Producer: Sara Woodhatch

Music by Theodore Shapiro

Cinematography by Florian Ballhaus

Edited by Susan E. Morse

Casting by Ilene Starger

Production Design by Kevin Thompson

Art Direction by Steve Carter

Set Decoration by Susan Bode

Costume Design by Christopher Peterson

Starring:

Hugh Grant as Paul Morgan

Sarah Jessica Parker as Meryl Morgan

Sam Elliott as Clay Wheeler

Mary Steenburgen as Emma Wheeler

Wilford Brimley as Earl Granger

Kim Shaw as Nurse Kelly

Natalia Klimas as Monique Rabelais

Vincenzo Amato as Girard Rabelais

Seth Gilliam as US Marshal Lasky

Jesse Liebman as Adam Feller

Elisabeth Moss as Jackie Drake

Kevin Brown as US Marshall Henderson

Sharon Wilkins as US Marshal King

Steven Boyer as US Marshal Ferber

Hugh Grant and Sara Jessica Parker star in this delightful comedy about finding love in the most unexpected places. Two successful New Yorkers, Paul (Grant) and Meryl (Parker), are at their wits’ end with repairing their strained marriage. But when they become the only witnesses to a brutal murder, the police hide them away in Wyoming – together. Now these die-hard city dwellers will have to survive the weather, bears, fresh air, and forced time with one another if they want to make it out alive.

Hugh Grant is known lately to take part in golf competitions more than acting these days but if there is one director that could take him away from his golf game, that is Marc Lawrence who had directed Hugh Grant in several films including “Music and Lyrics” and “Two Weeks Notice”.

Lawrence known for his “Miss Congeniality” films, “Forces of Nature” and directing many “Family Ties” TV shows back in the ’80s is back with a film that he wrote and directed titled “Did You Hear About the Morgans?”.

The film which made over $78 million worldwide showcases cinematography by Florian Ballhaus (“The Devil Wears Prada”, “Marley & Me” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife”) and music by Theodore Shapiro (“Tropic Thunder”, “Marley & Me” and “13 Going on 30”).

The film revolves around Meryl Morgan (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) who is a president of a successful real estate company and Paul Morgan (played by Hugh Grant),  a successful attorney.  Both living in New York City, the two are husband and wife who have plans for a divorce after Paul had an affair with a client.

Paul who is deeply in love and very sorry for what he did, wants to rescue his marriage and see a therapist but Meryl wants to move on and shows no signs of forgiving him.  But she does allow him to discuss things over dinner.

While the two come home from their dinner after talking about their situation, Meryl sees a friend high above a building who is murdered by a man.  Paul and Meryl try to hide but are seen by the murderer.

Immediately, the FBI puts the two in a special relocation program fearing that the killer may go after them because he saw their identity.  While both have officers protecting them from any intruders, the murderer disguises himself as a cop and tries to kill Meryl but she manages to escape by jumping to another building.

Because of the close-call, the FBI knows they have to relocate them quickly but temporarily they would have to live together and must secretly go to Wyoming.  Both have a problem with this because they have their own personal lives and their careers but they are forced to.

When they arrive in a small town in Wyoming, they live with Clay Wheeler (played by Sam Elliott) and the rifle loving Emma Wheeler (played by Mary Steenburgen) who take in people for temporary relocation and try to get the Morgan’s used to their new surroundings.

Forced to live with each other, the Morgans must now try to live with each other and get used to a small town together but most of all, finally discuss their emotions about their problems and also if their marriage can be salvaged.

Meanwhile, the murderer is going through every length that he can in order to find out where the Morgans have been relocated.

VIDEO:

“Did You Hear About the Morgans?” is featured in 1080p High Definition (widescreen – 2:35:1). With the film shot during the outdoors, there are plenty of vibrant colorful sequences.  Skintones are natural, blacks are nice and deep and a good amount of detail from the country area and the wooden living area of where the Morgan’s are staying.  A very good looking film on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

This is where “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” shines. Featured in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (and also included is an English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby digital), although the film is dialogue and music driven through the front and center channels, there are some major moments during the film where you can hear the rain pouring throughout the surround channels, the flight of the airplane, the shot of the rifles in the range to hearing the crowds during the rodeo.

I wasn’t expecting too much in terms of audio but “Did you hear about the Morgans?” does utilize the various channels quite well.  It’s not an absolutely lossless audio immersive type of  film but it’s more than what I expected.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Did You Hear About the Morgans?” comes with the following special features in High Definition with English Stereo and optional English subtitles:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Mark Lawrence and Stars Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker – A fun, hilarious and entertaining commentary by Mark Lawrence, Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker.  A lot of laughs and joking around and discussing the scenes of the film and even discussing some problematic situations of the film.
  • Location! Location! Location! – (18:10) The cast and crew talk about filming in a small town in New Mexico and Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker talk about riding horses and doing things in the desert for the first time.
  • Cowboys and Cosmopolitans – (5:02) Costume designer Christopher Peterson talks about working on this film and working with Sarah Jessica Parker.
  • Park Avenue Meets the Prairie– (15:29) A featurette showing behind-the-scenes footage on the making of the film and how there was a good number of improvisation used. And how the filmmakers, talent and crew had fun making this film.
  • A Bear of a Scene – (5:21) A short feature about the making of the scene with a real bear and the bear wrangler giving a meeting to the cast and crew.
  • Deleted Scenes – (4:28) Featuring two deleted scenes: Elevator with Moving Men & Gotham Adoption Agency and Impressive Putt.
  • Outtakes – (6:40) Bloopers from “Did you hear about the Morgans?”.
  • International Special – (13:46) Featuring an in-depth special feature with interviews with the cast and crew in regards to the making of “Did You Hear About the Morgans?”.
  • movieIQ – Allows people with BD-Live players to obtain real time information on the cast, music, trivia and more!

“Did You Hear About the Morgans?” features a pretty entertaining pairing between Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker.

For the most part, as a popcorn flick the film has its share of fun moments but unfortunately, is hampered by wooden acting by a few characters and a really giving Parker’s character of Meryl, a dislikable feel towards the beginning of the film.

Once Meryl arrives in Wyoming, it’s natural for her to not be used to her new surroundings but with dialogue such as “I support PETA” when she sees Emma Wheeler with her rifle and then the two trading off jokes about the small town.

And as much as Sarah Jessica Parker tries to distance herself from her “Sex and the City” Carrie Bradshaw persona, somehow when watching this feeling, I felt like I was watching Carrie Bradshaw instead of Meryl Morgan.   Her character is well-dressed, a character that is successful and even some of the mannerisms of Carrie seems to have seeped into the character of Meryl.

As for Hugh Grant, his role is more of the comedy clown as he is the one that is seen as weak and a character that seems to be groveling for a second chance.  But Grant’s performance works and he plays it very well.  It was great to see Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen and Wilford Brimley in the film.  Both played their roles effectively.

As for the Blu-ray, this is where I felt the film shined is the picture quality, lossless audio and even the special features.  One thing you learn is that both Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker had so much fun on the film, the two were just joking and laughing for long periods of time and sure enough, it’s captured on the outtakes.

Also, to find out that the talent were taken out of their element when filming in New Mexico (despite the film taking place in Wyoming) and having to ride a horse and also do some action work was quite intriguing.  But my favorite part of the Blu-ray was hearing Hugh Grant really having fun poking fun at the acting, the writing, cinematography of certain scenes and being absolutely honest and quite hilarious during the audio commentary.

Overall, “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” is a decent romantic comedy at best.

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