5-Word 365 #256 – The Accidental Husband

Even after all the bad ones I’ve seen, I just can’t seem to help myself. Maybe I should give up on romantic comedies. There doesn’t seem to be any good ones left.

The Accidental Husband

Predictable and a little dull.

New York firefighter Patrick Sullivan is all set for his upcoming wedding when his fiancee breaks it off at the last minute after calling radio love guru Dr Emma Lloyd for advice. In order to give her a taste of her own medicine (cos she’s a doctor! Medicine! Geddit?!) Patrick has the city’s registry hacked to show that he and Emma are joined together in holy computer fraud, putting the kibosh on her own imminent nuptials. When Emma tracks Patrick down to get their marriageĀ annulled… Look, if you can’t see where this one is going by now then I think you’re on the wrong site.

Much like with any other film genre, there is a recipe for a good romantic comedy. As recipes go, it’s more of a light souffle than a pound cake yet I am constantly amazed at the number that don’t quite rise as they should. You can add this one to the “amazing” pile. Unfortunately, this souffle’s biggest problems are the ingredients. The milk is off and the eggs are stale. Okay, I’m pretty sure I have run this metaphor right into the ground by now; I don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about any more. As I was saying (I think) the basic concept has a few major issues that cause the whole movie to, if not sink then definitely waver more than a little. Don’t worry, these won’t count as spoilers.

This is the poster police! Put your hands above your head and back away from the Photoshop!

The first is about the actual love story. The timeline is a problem for me. Here is Patrick, a man within a week of getting married when he is dumped completely out of the blue. Just a few days later he is not only over that break-up but he is already in love with another woman and trying to convince her to end her engagement to be with him. And the other woman is the one responsible for his cancelled wedding in the first place? That’s a stretch, I’m sure you’ll agree, but the bigger clunker is the hacking idea. Supposedly a teenager in his bedroom in Queens can get into some sort of civic database and make two people who have never even met before married. I’m fairly sure there’s a law or two against that, as well as the logistical issues. Honestly I pretty much checked out at this point. I did watch the entire flick, but it wasn’t engaging me any more.

The story feels very engineered as well, as if the writers sat around with their Big Dictionary of Romantic Comedies picking out all the story beats and character moments that they wanted to include without consideration to what the larger, naturally developed story might be. There’s even a random mistaken identity subplot that teases a bit of classic farce then just stops five minutes later. Nothing in The Accidental Husband feels organic. The biggest shame of all is that the central trio are all such decent actors who could have produced something special with more to work with.

Feel free to make up your own witty caption here. Best one gets a prize.

Uma Thurman is as gorgeous as ever of course although Dr Lloyd (we never find out exactly what she’s a doctor of…) is a bit too flighty to really take seriously. Other than the fact that she looks like Uma Thurman, it’s not clear exactly why Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Patrick falls in love with her as quickly as he does. I guess that’s just what the plot demands. Colin Firth is Richard, Emma’s original other half and the third point of the love triange. Richard isn’t even a character really, he’s a cypher, existing only as a function of the plot. His personality actually changes noticably from scene to scene, to fit whatever purpose Emma and Patrick’s story needs. Frankly, it’s a waste of Firth’s talents.

Director Griffin Dunne keeps the story moving at a decent pace – perhaps as a way to try and gloss over the story problems – but aside from the upanayana sequence (like an Indian Bar Mitzvah, we are helpfully told) there is no real excitement to the visuals. The whole thing just plods along following the same old pattern as so many others before it.

It might seem like I really hated this film, but I didn’t. I didn’t love it, I didn’t even enjoy it all that much, but it wasn’t offensive to the point of hatred. I guess I was just hoping for more.

One comment

  1. mistylayne · September 13, 2012

    Eh. That’s pretty much how I feel about all romantic comedies.

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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