Morgan Movie

The holiday season is movie time.  Every year, the movie studios give us presents of typical genres–last minute Oscar contenders (Invictus, Up in the Air, Avatar), blockbusters (Sherlock Holmes, Avatar), romantic comedies (It’s Complicated, Did You Hear About the Morgans?), animated family fare (Alvin and the Chimpmunks), and CGI-3D-movie events of the century (Avatar).

Of all the possibilities, I  saw “Did You Hear About the Morgans?”

You may fall into the camp that believes Hugh Grant is irritating to watch…or you may find him charming.  The important thing for our purposes is that in DYHAM, he portrays Paul Morgan, a Brit and lawyer.  Not much is said of  his practice, other than he is apparently so successful that he has his own personal assistant/chauffeur.  Obviously this is poetic license.  We all know that real lawyers in NYC have separate personal assistants, chauffeurs, legal assistants, and personal trainers.

We learn a little more about Mr. Morgan’s legal side from his interaction with Earl Granger, played by granola-pusher Wilfred Brimley.  Mrs. Morgan (portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr. Morgan are out on a “date” at Granger’s place when the missus complains about Brimley’s smoking.  Bad form, even in our current anti-smoking climate, considering that not only is Granger the resident old coot, but he also owns the restaurant.  The humor is supposed to be that Mrs. M’s a member of PETA, a vegetarian, and therefore is ethically bound to complain to everyone about their smoking.

Brimley’s character softens up a bit when he seems to desperately need the services of a lawyer for his granddaughter Lucy, whom he believes will be the next American Idol winner.  Granger is thinking ahead for Lucy’s future and when he needs a will, he goes to the only lawyer he knows–Morgan.  We’ll just take it for granted (get it? Grant-ed?) that just as every lawyer has his own personal assistant, every small town has no lawyers (or doctors–remember Doc Hollywood?  Anyone?).  The movie also would have us believe that Granger doesn’t think of getting a lawyer until he sees one.  Oh, if legal marketing worked that way!  When Granger approaches Morgan about drafting a will, Morgan is hesitant.  He pulls out that standard line all of us lawyers use–“I’m not actually that kind of lawyer.”  Granger responds the way many folks would by saying something to the effect of “Well, are you a lawyer or aren’t you?”

Either Morgan is afraid Granger is going to shoot him, he wants to get back into his good graces so that he can eat at the only restaurant in town, or maybe he realizes that he probably can do this work that falls outside his normal practice area.  In any event, he does help Granger with the will.  He’s not in New York anymore, so we’ll assume he was already licensed to practice nationwide.   And apparently he does such a great job that Granger (spoiler alert…but not really) comes to the rescue of Morgan later in the film by pointing his gun at the bad guy.

In the end, DYHAM doesn’t do too much to tarnish the reputation of lawyers–other than the fact that Hugh Grant’s Morgan is a filthy rich philanderer.  He does actually assist his client by taking on a matter outside his normal practice area that he can probably do with some added research on his part.  He puts his life on the line to protect his wife.  He jogs.  And he’s British, so he must be smart.

But the main question is “Did You Hear About Whether You Should Go See ‘Did You Hear About the Morgans?'”  As much as I’d like to say that a movie portraying a lawyer who shares my surname in the title is the must-see hit of the holiday season, I’m just not that kind of lawyer.

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