Sometimes you just have to shake your head in disbelief because there isn’t much else you can do. While watching Uma Thurman and Colin Firth stumble their way through the ill-conceived The Accidental Husband, it was literally all I could do (spitting up my drink would have been too messy). This is definitely one of those movies that should have never been made.
Yeah, I know that is a harsh statement to make, but it is, undeniably, the truth. And before all the Uma fans in the world rush off to get a knife to castrate me with, allow me to defend my position because I’m certain you’ll agree with me by the end of the review. There are three major flaws to this romantic comedy:
A boring, poorly written premise. First time writers Mimi Hare, Clare Naylor and Bonnie Sikowitz really show their inexperience. The plot of The Accidental Husband is very uneven and “unfun”. Romantic comedies are about light-heartedness and uncomplicated characters that you can, or at least want to, relate with on some level. Here, Thurman’s character of Dr. Emma Lloyd is a pretentious snob, who believes the coupling advice she spits out on her radio show is beyond reproach. Screw her and her high horse. Her fiancé, Richard (Firth) is a cardboard cutout. He exhibits absolutely no emotion when faced with the very real possibility that his soon-to-be wife may be dipping into the cookie jar before their marriage. Weak, he deserves to get shit on. Then there is Patrick (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the man we’re supposed to care about since he was wronged by the good doctor’s advice (his fiancee dumped him because of it). Initially you’d like to see him exact his revenge – he creates a marriage license which shows he’s married to Emma – but after awhile you realize he’s a complete nitwit and his cute smile wears thin shortly thereafter.
That problem is exacerbated further by the poor casting. Maybe, just maybe, with different leads the outcome would have been better (although I highly doubt it). As it stands now everyone appears lost and out of place. Uma does appear the part of the uptight, high society bitch, but this role ultimately degrades into an imbecile, whose laughs come from slipping and banging her head into tables and doors. Uma Thurman is a lot of things but a physical comedienne really isn’t one of them (although she didn’t do that bad of a job at it in My Super Ex-Girlfriend). Colin Firth is too good of an actor to be relegated to a role with zero substance. His time spent on camera appears to be used solely to showcase the different types of grimaces he could muster before his face began to hurt. The only semi-high point is the casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the strapping, none-to-smart NYC firefighter. The role is about the look and not so much about anything else, so putting him in it served the purpose well enough.
The third stab in the ass comes from the combination of the first two – there is no chemistry between any of the lead actors. From my viewpoint, I couldn’t see Emma spending the rest of her life with either of her two suitors. And for a romantic comedy to excel, the tit-for-tat banter between star-crossed lovers is supposed to be sharp and filled with sexual innuendos. You’re not going to find any fo that in The Accidental Husband. Everything they say to one another is contrived and there isn’t an ounce of natural angst in their voices. Hell, halfway through the film I wanted them all to live out their years lonely and despondent.
So to sum up my thoughts on The Accidental Husband – it’s a catastrophe. No wit, no sparks and no clear direction from Griffin Dunne comfortably put this movie into the company of the worst romantic comedies of this era. Like I said at the beginning of the review – we’d be better off if this film never saw the light of day. Hopefully, I’ve made at least a semi-compelling case and it is enough for you to skip seeing this. Oh yeah, please put away the gardening shears . . .