A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy is a classic fish-out-of-water tale that could appeal to romcom-loving teens, despite its bland story. There are a few kisses and references to sex, marriage, and infidelity. Strong language is surprisingly infrequent (one "s--t" and "bulls--t"), and most of the violence -- including minor gun violence (and gun use in general, in the parts that take place in Wyoming), as well as some comical scenes involving bear spray -- is concentrated briefly at the beginning and the end of the movie. Expect a fair bit of product placement/promotion, including BlackBerry, Gillette, and more.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS?, Paul (Hugh Grant) and Meryl (Sarah Jessica Parker) Morgan are high-powered New Yorkers struggling with marital woes. After a rare dinner together, the pair sees a mob hit and is subsequently placed into witness protection in sleepy Ray, Wyoming. Unable to contact anyone at home, the Manhattan-centric Morgans must live with local sheriff Clay (Sam Elliot) and his wife, Emma (Mary Steenburgen) -- two gun-toting, Clint Eastwood-loving law enforcers who couldn't be less like the Morgans. Like all fish out of water, the Morgans grow fonder and fonder of the rodeo town and its quirky, down-home residents. If the Morgans can survive somewhere far, far away from their bagels, BlackBerrys, and problems, maybe their marriage will survive, too.
Is it any good?
At this point in their careers, Grant and Parker are romantic-comedy staples, but they share absolutely no chemistry. (You have to wonder, in fact, whether Parker can muster up sparks with anyone other than Chris Noth.) This stereotypical, overly predictable tale about neurotic, type-A Manhattanites stuck in sleepy Wyoming is simply soporific and annoying. Even at 96 minutes, the story stumbles along at an infuriating pace.
The lack of heat between two stars isn't even the worst of it. That would be the film's stilted jokes about "poor" rich New Yorkers who can't go to Lincoln Center or Zabar's or Nobu. Other than in Sex and the City, do audiences even care about how much wealthy Manhattan couples would miss the trappings of city life? When flannel-shirted Clay and Emma roll their eyes at the Morgans, they're channeling the audience. Steenburgen and Elliot merit the movie's one star -- it's always a pleasure to see the two character actors pop up in anything. And for the record, their scenes together are more romantic than anything Parker and Grant display.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's gun violence and hunting jokes. Is the gun use in the movie meant to be comical? Is it?
How are both New Yorkers and people from Wyoming portrayed? Is the characters' depiction realistic or stereotypical?
Why do you think the fish-out-of-water genre is so popular? What's funny about seeing people out of their comfort zone?
- In theaters: December 18, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: March 16, 2010
- Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker
- Director: Marc Lawrence
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some sexual references and momentary violence
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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