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Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Every few years Hugh Grant comes out of hiding to wince and stammer his way to a paycheck, occasionally serving up a pleasant surprise like About a Boy but more often churning out forgettable rom-coms like Music and Lyrics and Two Weeks Notice. His latest film, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, a fish-out-of-water rom-com co-starring Preakness runner-up Sarah Jessica Parker, belongs steadfastly in the latter category -- and it might just be the worst of the lot.

Bearing a perpetually pained expression, Grant literally suffers through the film as Paul Morgan, a Londoner-turned-Manhattanite whose marriage to Meryl (Parker), a posh, high-achieving real-estate agent, is set adrift after his recent infidelity. He's keen on reconciliation; she's firmly against it. So are we, for that matter, after witnessing a few minutes of their strained and utterly futile attempts at creating chemistry. But I digress...

Prospects for the Morgans' marriage appear grim, but their destinies abruptly align again when they unwittingly witness a murder of a high-level FBI informant. Fearing for the unhappy couples' safety, the government whisks Paul and Meryl away to a tiny rural town in Wyoming, where they're forced to live under the same roof, deprived of the modern conveniences of their upscale New York lifestyle.

The Morgans eventually reunite, of course, but not before subjecting us to a truly torturous gauntlet of bland bits, each involving a predictably disastrous experiment with horseback riding, wood chopping, cow milking or other stereotypically rural activity. Our suffering is occasionally mitigated by the periodic witty comment from Grant, whose ability to deliver wry one-liners with expert precision is still very much intact. After Did You Hear About the Morgans?, however, his career may not be. rated this film 1/2 star.