by Rick Grant
This is a film written as a formulaic commercial product that is so well acted by the two main actors, Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant, that they almost overcome the film’s glaring mediocrity. Alas, the picture is blatantly predictable and involves the cliche’ fish-out-of-water premise.
Still, Parker and Grant are adorable and entertaining as Meryl and Paul Morgan, a New York City power couple who are separated because Paul slept with another woman. Paul is trying hard to win Meryl back any way he can. But, she just can’t get over his betrayal.
Paul is a successful lawyer and Meryl is a celebrity real estate broker who just made the cover of “New York Magazine.” Paul is inconsolable and Meryl is enjoying seeing him squirm. Then one night they are taking a walk to talk about their separation, and suddenly they witness a professional hit. What’s worse, they see the killer’s face and he sees them.
Like a stray bullet, the Morgans are hit with the prospect of being murdered so they can’t testify against the hitman. The U.S. Marshalls step in and give them immediate protection. However, they will have to give up their lives in NYC, relinquish their IDs and passports, cell phones, and any other vestige of their lives in the big city.
So, the Morgans become the Fosters from Chicago and are flown in a private jet to a fork in the road town in Wyoming to stay with a two married U.S. Marshalls, the Wheelers, played by Mary Steenburgen and Sam Elliott, who will protect them. The Fosters arrive and are immediately sent into culture shock. This is God’s country with cowboy hats and independent spirits who love to hunt for their meat and have large collections of fire arms.
The Wheelers have a rustic log cabin in the middle of the wilderness with one small guest room. Meryl chooses to sleep on the couch. Of course, anyone with half a brain can figure out where this story is going. But it’s at least fun getting there.
These city slickers might as well be on another planet, having traveled from NYC to the wilds of Wyoming. But they try to adjust the best they can, praying that the cops catch the killer.
Ah, but this guy is a pro and he bugs Meryl’s real estate office to pick up intelligence on their location. When Meryl foolishly makes a call from the country doctor’s office, it doesn’t take the hitman long to find out where the “Fosters” are hiding.
Meanwhile, the Fosters are not getting along cooped up inside the log cabin. And the Marshall couple, the Wheelers, are getting tired of the Fosters bickering. So they try to get them interested in the outdoors and the simple life of this small town life.
Written and directed by Marc Lawrence, the script could be a stock computer generated screenplay with places for the characters names and locations. It’s pathetic that Hollywood keeps cranking out the same lame material year after year to pander to the predestrian tastes of today’s moviegoers. It’s the film equivalent to a Big Mac and fries.
Still, the movie is mildly entertaining and funny. And, at least the sound was recorded well. I could hear every cliche’ and witty quip from Hugh Grant’s character.