The Accidental Husband (2008) stars Uma Thurman and some fellow by the name of Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a romantic comedy. As usual, I’m rather critical of the romance in most movies, and I’ll try toarticulate what it is about this flick that I think could’ve been done better.
Dr. Emma Lloyd (Uma Thurman) as talk show host (hostess?) of popular radio program ‘Real Love’. She dispenses advice about finding real love: the type that lasts forever, not just the type that gets you all hot and bothered for a couple weeks and then leaves you high and dry. A lot of what she says seems quite in line with my own beliefs. Dr. Lloyd believes that “love is supposed to nourish you”. Like myself, she knows that though Prince Charming may seem awfully enticing and exciting at the onset, “his charm will run pretty thin, which is what charm does.” She knows that the recipe for real love that lasts a lifetime involves finding a loving man who is a responsible adult and an equal. This very smart lady is engaged to Richard Bratton (Colin Firth). Richard is stable, loving, responsible, and pretty much a “safe bet”. He may not be exciting, but I’d say that he’s excellent marriage material.Patrick Sullivan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a fireman from Astoria, Queens. He had been dating a woman for five months and got engaged to her. This woman, upon receiving advice from Dr. Lloyd, broke things off with him. Some time later, his young neighbor friend helps him exact a little bit of vengeance. With a little computer wizardry on the part of this helpful neighbor, Patrick Sullivan is registered with the state of New York as Emma Lloyd’s husband.Emma goes to find Patrick so that she can annul the current fluke of a marriage. Being out for blood, Patrick doesn’t make it easy for her. In short, he makes her jump through a lot of hoops to get these papers signed so that she can legally move forward with her actual intended marriage.
Of course, the movie mixes things up a little bit and Patrick finds himself starting to like Emma as he holds her annulment papers hostage. As he impersonates her real fiancé, the roleplaying serves to inadvertently bring out some latent attraction between the faux couple.
But here’s the thing: you really have to question just how committed to marriage Patrick was if he’s already starting to develop feelings for the woman who ruined his engagement. And you have to wonder how committed Emmawasto marrying Richard if she starts making out with Patrick in an elevator. There were also some loose ends. Richard seemed to be catching wind of the hacking that was going on, but didn’t follow through with any sort of exposure of Patrick’s scheme. Overall, it just didn’t feel quite right that he would just lay down and take it.
As with most romantic movies, we never really see the emotional motivations of the characters to break their current engagements. We never see that pivotal moment between the characters where they fall in love for each other. So often, these moments are told to us, but not shown. I imagine a great scene that has a moving score, powerful imagery, and beautiful cinematography could pull this off, along with great acting. But most of the time, this scene is explained to us rather bluntly with some dialogue.
I find it silly that Emma would throw away all of the advice she gives to others. There is a much potential for some good drama, but Emma doesn’t seem to have any real issues with physical and emotional infidelity. We don’t see any internal conflict that convinces us that she isn’t just some big hypocrite. The movie paints Emma as a woman who is just swept away with a surprising spark of romance. But she’s really more of a flip-flopper. Her decisions do not have any grave consequences, and without the weight of the severity of her actions, it’s hard to see anything meaningful. Richard just simply lets go and forgives her. In my opinion, the real hero in this movie was Richard Bratton. He was big enough a man to graciously set her free. However, it’d be far more dramatic if Richard didn’t just give up his engagement. In fact, Emma doesn’t exactly seem remorseful of her dissolution of her engagement with him.
It seems like the message to be read from this movie is this: Girls, you can read all the books and magazines you want, listen to all the experts’ advice, but when true love strikes, when you recognize the real thing, drop everything and chase it down, regardless of the consequences. An irresponsible and seemingly stupid lesson if you ask me. Of course, the movie is ultimately enjoyable, although it certainly does not surpass the very low bar that modern romance movies have set. As usual, there is a high potential for drama, but it fails to deliver.
This is actually a very old draft that just never got published. It was originally written on 12 NOV 2009.