I have seldom seen the stars of a movie look as thoroughly uncomfortable as Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant in this drearily low-concept would-be comedy, “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” Parker plays Meryl Morgan, a Manhattan real estate broker so high-powered she is featured on the cover of New York Magazine, who has recently left her husband, Paul (Grant) because he cheated on her. Paul, a high-powered lawyer, has been trying to win her back with gifts and entreaties, but she is resisting.
And then they end up stuck together, unplugged from all of their various electronic devices and their supremely efficient assistants (wasting the talented Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men”), and about as far away from Manhattan as you can get. They are sent to the small town of Ray, Wyoming by law enforcement authorities after they witness a murder to protect them from being the professional killer’s next victims. And so we’re in the land of city slickers vs the hicks as a form of extreme marital therapy. It’s all sit-, no com.
The jokes were old when “Green Acres” was new. New Yorkers can’t sleep out west because there are no sirens and car horns and they can’t breathe because the air is too clean! Isn’t it cute that people play bingo and shoot guns! (“Oh, my God, it’s Sarah Palin!” Meryl says when she sees Mary Steenburgen as a rifle-toting U.S. Marshall.) One lame stereotype after another (Meryl learns to shoot a gun and milk a cow! Paul squirts his own eyes with bear repellent! Hicks are all Republican and carnivores! Let’s bring everyone together for a dance and a rodeo!) only underscores how self-absorbed, annoying, and entirely unattractive the characters are and how much contempt the film has for its audience. Our primary motivation for wanting them to stay together is that it’s the best way to punish them for creating this awful film. Let them torture each other the way they tortured us.