What do you mean you never heard of this movie before?! I’m just joking. I never had either. God bless Netflix and its vast collection of smaller, lesser known films! That’s how my wife and I found this one. It’s actually from 2008, and it has some major stars in it including Colin Firth, Uma Thurman, Isabella Rossellini, Sam Shepard, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who looks a LOT like Javier Bardem). To boot, it was also directed by Griffin Dunne (I have always liked his work, both in front of and behind the camera).
In a strange way, this is a VERY Modern-Day American film. It is set in New York City (and if you read my review of “Something Borrowed” you know what I am about to say) – because Des Moines just ain’t that interesting! I loved the setting for this film. Where else in America can you have such an awesome cross-section of the world’s population? In the film, you have an Irish-American firefighter named Patrick who lives above his Indian landlord’s restaurant, but he is also incredibly close to the Indian family. Then there’s the high-class radio personality Emma, who definitely comes from the upper crust of White America, and she is about to marry British book distributor, Richard. Patrick begins the film engaged to a Latino jewelry store salesperson named Sofia. During the film, you will also be introduced to Greta & Karl Bollenbecker, a very wealthy German financier of Richard’s company. All of these different Ethnicities all mingled together make it very modern-day America for me, and I like that!
The film centers on a story about the lengths a man will go to in order to get a Love Doctor (from a radio show) a taste of her own medicine. The Love Doctor doles out advice on her show about relationships based more on pragmatism rather than emotion. Inadvertently, she causes Sofia to dump her fiancé Patrick. Patrick wants to get back at the good doctor, and gets his neighbor’s kid to hack some computer system and legally MARRY her to him. Let the fun begin! The bulk of the film revolves around Emma trying to undo this clerical error by having the marriage annulled and having Patrick sign over these papers to her.
It is a Romantic Comedy, and Uma Thurman brings her A-game to the role of Emma. At 1st, you’ll hate her and her WASP-like ways, but as the story progresses you actually come to understand her more and in the end, you end up liking her. Jeffrey Dean Morgan stands out as Patrick, a character motivated by revenge in a campy Romantic Comedy kind of way but he quickly evolves into this very likable guy that doesn’t seem to have a dishonest bone in his body. He of course falls for Emma, and she starts to realize that there is much more to marriage than practicality. There are a lot of funny moments in “the Accidental Husband” but the real success is that the film has a charm to it (and its low budget) that is lost in a lot of other similar movies. It looks and feels real, grounded and believable in that ugly coincidental way that only seems to happen in Romantic Comedies. The best part of these feel-good tales is often how the end and “Accidental Husband” is no different. Somewhat predictable in its ending, but utterly satisfying.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.
- The Accidental Husband (2008) (filmoanalysis.wordpress.com)