The Accidental Husband
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Griffin Dunne
scr Mimi Hare, Clare Naylor, Bonnie Sikowitz
with Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sam Shepard, Lindsay Sloane, Ajay Naidu, Isabella Rossellini, Keir Dullea Brooke Adams, Justina Machado, Lindsey Kraft, Jeffrey Tedmori
release UK 29.Feb.08, US 27.Mar.09
08/US Yari 1h31
The Accidental Husband
Let them eat cake: Morgan and Thurman

firth shepard rossellini
The Accidental Husband The opening act of this rom-com almost convinces us something fresh and enjoyable is on its way. Then it quickly drowns in a sea of corny slapstick, trite plotting and sappy sentiment.

Emma (Thurman) is a popular radio love doctor who's engaged to the charming Richard (Firth), who's publishing her first book of romance advice. Meanwhile, Patrick (Morgan) has just been dumped based on her on-air suggestion, so decides to get revenge. With the help of a startlingly talented hacker, he sets about sabotaging her marriage, registering himself as Emma's husband rather than Richard. Chaos ensues, as she and Richard hunt Patrick down and try to force him into an annulment. And her father (Shepard) isn't much help, really.

It's pretty clear from the start who Emma will end up with: suave, upscale entrepreneur Richard or rough-around-the-edges firefighter Patrick. Not really a fair fight, eh? So it's kind of ridiculous that the screenwriters try so hard, over and over, to throw every conceivable wrench into the situation, making sure that no one behaves even remotely like an authentic human being. For one thing, no one bothers to actually talk to each other, which would have made the film about 15 minutes long. Pity.

At least the cast members go for it. Thurman indulges in big emotional reactions, happy and sad, and also throws herself fully into the haphazardly staged slapstick. She does manage to generate some spiky chemistry with Morgan, which is all that sustains the film, really. He's quite engaging in the scruffy, "wrong man" role, and contrasts well against the effortlessly smooth Firth, who actually manages to redeem his character in the end. Star-powered supporting players like Shepard, Rossellini and Adams fill the edges nicely, even if they're half asleep.

In the end, the film is a hodge-podge of random story elements that seem to emerge from the land that logic forgot, including a Bollywood segment. Running gags start and stop at random, and their pay-offs are abandoned for a shockingly silly-slushy climax, followed by an even worse coda. In the end, the film is just a huge waste of slick production values and an otherwise talented cast.

cert 12 themes, language, brief sexuality 25.Feb.08

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... The Accidental Husband chris johnson, Lincolnshire: 1/5 "what can i say! a poor comedy, dull and boring with unfunny jokes, in short its a disaster from start to finish, the only good point for me was seeing Isabella Rossellini (Ingrid Bergmans daughter). the acting was wooden, Colin Firth was miscast in this film, and Uma Thurman was amateurish." (9.Mar.08)
© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall