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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Retro Review: The Accidental Husband (2008)

The Accidental Husband
Cast: Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Firth, Isabella Rossellini, Sam Shepard
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $22 million 

Plot: When radio talk host Emma Lloyd advises one of her listeners to break up with her boyfriend, the jilted ex sets about getting his revenge 

'So Charmless, It's No Accident' 

Courtesy of the director who gave us Practical Magic (a film I didn't pay attention towards) & the unmemorable Addicted To Love, in addition to the even crappier Movie 43, The Accidental Husband made the rounds in the UK, but skipped a theatrical release Stateside in 2008 when distribution company, Yari Film Group went bankrupt. And there are a few issues and reasons as to why this one didn't quite catch on with me as much as I wanted it to. Besides that, it was one of the lowest performing movies that came out in US cinemas. The premise has some promise with enormous potential going for it, but the film has one major problem that hinders it from being truly watchable and entertaining, and that is Uma Thurman. Another problem is that besides the main plot, there aren't many other good subplots or scenes to sustain the momentum of the film. 

Accidental Husband is a rom-com in the same vein as so many other movies of this type, but it is also one that should have been way better, both in the script and the casting. Unfortunately, it turns out to be just as turgid and bland like with millions of other rom-coms.

The plot follows Dr Emma Lloyd as a radio relationship expert this side of Dr Frasier Crane who one night offers Sofia advice in breaking off her engagement with fireman Patrick, based on -get this- online compatibility test. I mean if you are going to base and determine the future of your relationship with your partner on the basis of what the computer says, then well, it's not ideal. So to get back at Emma, Patrick gets his neighbour's son to hack into her computer and edit the details so it states that he and Emma are ''married'', so he can teach her a few lessons about relationships. No sooner however that Emma's fiance Richard finds out and this scheme doesn't sit well with him. 

This film would have been a better fit for Julia Roberts in the role of Laura instead of Thurman. Thurman is a great actress no doubt and she was also in another rom-com titled My Super Ex-Girlfriend, but that movie was more of a screwball-type rom-com that played on her comedic strengths. Whereas in a traditional rom-com such as this and without the slapstick and oddball silliness, however, it's really unfortunate and it's not really her forte. She doesn't seem to know how to get a handle on this type of role in this type of film, thus pulling off the- good- girl- that- the -boy- gets- in- the- end theme, and Uma doesn't have the chops for it. In contrast, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Patrick is quite the opposite and he manages to assimilate into his role as the love interest naturally and so sufficiently. What it all boils down to is it is he who, despite being second- billed, comes off as being believable, - yet in Thurman as Emma, she just doesn't have that 'it' factor that the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts possess in abundance. It makes Morgan and Thurman's pairing as prosperous as it sounds on paper, that in all honesty, onscreen chemistry and believability with those two is next to zero. Dean Morgan has been in far better movies than this one and though he gets bashed a lot, he's still all right in my books. 

I actually like the Indian Asian aspect of the film, which is something one doesn't usually see in a rom-com; however, in terms of the story, I don't really quite see how it fits in with the movie as it didn't make a lot of sense. Rom-coms, in general, are predominately White by nature, & seeing supplementary or supporting characters of a different ethnicity is rare to see. 

There are a few plot contrivances that seem out of place and illogical, although as annoying as it was that didn't compare to how thoroughly underwhelming this felt for me. 15 or 20 mins into the film, it starts to go downhill and becomes incredibly stale and more of a chore to endure. 

The film wastes the talents of Colin Firth -whose character is made to do little and say nothing of significance and gets shafted in the end -, Uma Thurman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, although with Thurman as the bigger miscast for me and the script needed a lot of tinkering, because most of it was just a total bore. The film opts for quirky and different, but manages to be neither and has none of the charm to go with it and the romantic aspect just didn't work and Morgan and Thurman don't seem to be a good fit for one another. 


Final Verdict:

Thurman is usually so good in her other roles, but she just can't really seem to cut it as a rom-com actress. Elsewhere, the story just didn't suck me in, the would-be will they/won't they coming together of Uma Thurman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan comes to an unsatisfying conclusion and in all, the execution is just so botched, it's disappointing. I'd swap Thurman for Julia Roberts and made sweeping and bold changes to the screenplay.

Alongside the just as insufferable counterpart The Ugly Truth of the same year, the main leads should have known better. 

If it wasn't for Dean Morgan, it would have been even more unwatchable for me, but still, this was a painful watch. 


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