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The Accidental Husband - Review

The Accidental Husband

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

UMA Thurman serves as both producer and star of this uneven romantic comedy that can’t throw off the shackles of its flaky premise no matter how hard its engaging cast try.

Thurman plays Dr Emma Lloyd, a popular New York radio DJ whose sensible, practical advice is listened to and loved by women everywhere.

When one piece of advice prompts a listener to dump New York firefighter Patrick Sullivan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) on the eve of their wedding, Sullivan resolves to get even and, upon learning that Dr Lloyd is about to get hitched to dependable fianc√© Richard (Colin Firth), employs some computer trickery to make it look as if she’s already wed – to him!

When Lloyd comes visiting to rectify the situation, the two share an instant chemistry and it’s not long before Sullivan finds himself smitten with the target of his revenge, and Dr Lloyd is forced to choose between the two men in her life.

The Accidental Husband is not without the odd charming moment and is emerges as a frivolous, carefree watch on DVD, but it does struggle to justify the presence of such a stellar cast.

The screenplay, in particular, stretches credibility from the outset and tests viewers’ patience by asking us to “sympathise” with a man who would knowingly scupper another person’s marriage and then emerge as the romantic hero.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan – an actor desperately in need of an image makeover after turgid roles in Grey’s Anatomy, PS I Love You and now this – works hard to invest Sullivan with some roguish charm, but is ultimately fighting a lost cause.

While even Thurman’s Dr Lloyd becomes difficult to care for given the unlikely direction of her love life.

Firth, meanwhile, looks content to trot out another of his stoic, over-earnest and painfully polite Brits… so much so that he is prepared to gallantly let Sullivan steal away the love of his life.

Only Sam Shepard, as Lloyd’s sympathetic father, comes close to injecting proceedings with any real emotional honesty or integrity but his scenes are all too fleeting.

Director Griffin Dunne, meanwhile, seems uncertain about whether to make The Accidental Husband a total screwball comedy or an emotionally involving rom-com and comes up short in both departments.

The overall result is a disappointing effort that seems ill-conceived in the first place.

Certificate: 12
Running time: 91mins
UK DVD Release: February 2, 2009