Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Movie and Dinner: Have You Heard ...


The Movie
My daughter and I just watched "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" There was actually a line in the movie like that. Which tells you something about the show. In spite of the good story, we both agreed there was something not quite right about the casting and possibly about the directing. It's a funny show, thanks to Hugh Grant. He has comic delivery down, even when the set up lacks conviction. More than once he turned flat dialogue into witty riposte.

Basically, we felt the main issue was Sarah Jessica Parker having problems with comic timing. My daughter felt the setting was wrong. New York is not the sort of place she expected to see a Hugh Grant character. I was okay with it, however I do agree with her that some back story would have helped a lot to make the whingeing husband thoroughly believable. We rewrote the beginning of the movie while sitting over dinner at Carrabba's. We agreed that an opening scene with the "other woman" (bossy, sexy, hard nosed), as the wife picks up her husband at a New York airport, would have set the stage beautifully and let us in on what was happening. And would have made Hugh's character fit in better.

The pairing of Sarah and Hugh needed an international setting. A far away international setting. I suggested that at some point the scene should change to Ibizia or Ischia or some other foreign tourist spot. Can you be relocated to a European resort if you are in the witness protection program? My daughter thought they should go to London, as she can't imagine a Hugh character outside of England.

The professional killer character had no a comic edge, which I felt detracted from the show. Instead of being serious counterpoint, the killer scenes were a time to stop being funny, an interruption. Maybe if he had been Italian and succeeded accidentally that might have been humorous. Or if he had looked funny. The whole humor of the show is not quite gauche enough to be slap stick and not quite dry enough to be witty.

We also agreed that the whole western thing was everyone only pretending to be western — Hollywood's idea of the cowboy, sort of thing. The clown bull had a lot of unrealized comic potential. Sam Elliot was luscious and Mary Steenburgen played a convincing gun-toting cowgirl, but we both felt they were too strong for the backdrop.

My daughter had issues with the two secretaries. They both seemed stiff, but, overall were fairly believable. More believable together, I thought, than Hugh and Sarah's characters.

The movie did do it's primary job — it got us to buy tickets and sit in the theatre. However, if it hadn't been the holidays and my daughter wasn't visiting from Kansas, I doubt I would have gone to see it. I was curious about the bear and I like Hugh Grant, so perhaps I would have gone on my own, but probably not. There are few exceptions to my waiting to see movies until they are released as videos rule. This was not an exception.

The Dinner
I caved in and finally let myself be pulled into Carrabba's. I've refused to go on the principle that I never go where everyone else goes. It generally isn't worth it. The whole trees-growing-on-the-roof thing really smacks of circus. How good can food be when they have to resort to flashy tactics? I thought my fears were realized as we sat waiting for our meal under fake grape vines over rough wooden trellises. However, the food is utterly amazing — from the fresh yeasty bread to the house salad, braised spinach and tilapia special. Absolutely excellent. The service was quite good — the waiter responsive and alert, the runner ebullient and enthusiastic. I may go back just for the spinach. A lot of garlic though. If you go make sure you take the people you live with along so that the smell of garlic won't put them off you for the rest of the evening.

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Upon rereading I am amazed to discover how much I liked the food at Carrabba's as I now think of it as just sort of okay food. Still have the same opinion about the movie, though.

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