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The Accidental Husband

Updated on April 30, 2013
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Alicia has been an Author, Columnist, and Reviewer for 10 years. Her success came from perseverance plus organized goal setting.

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Movie Review

The Accidental Husband released in 2008 starring Uma Thurman as Doctor Emma Lloyd, a radio talk show host and author of the book R*E*A*L*LOVE is a delightful romantic-comedy that is well worth the movie's length of 1 hour and 30 minutes. This movie covers much at a fast, yet easy to watch pace. This is not the ordinary romantic-comedy with a straight forward plot. This film has a unique twist that explores a very human contemporary possibility that appeals to both men and women.

The Accidental Husband begins with Patrick Sullivan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) a Queens Fireman in New York City listening to his fiancée, Sofia (Justina Machado), discussing their relationship over the radio with Dr. Emma Lloyd's radio talk show. The advice given by Dr. Emma Lloyd precipitates Sofia cancelling her matrimonial plans with Patrick.

Angry, frustrated and with a male ego's desire to get even, Patrick Sullivan allows his teen friend Ajay (Jeffrey Tedmori), a computer genius, to commit a felony by hacking into New York City's computer that holds all marriage license information. The computer whiz kid without becoming caught by the authorities makes Patrick legally married to Dr. Emma Lloyd. Patrick thinks this will show Dr. Lloyd what it is like to have one's life's plans unexpectedly thwarted by an outside source. He wants her to feel the same heartache he did. Patrick makes Ajay promise to never hack into a government computer again. Patrick elucidates about hacking into a government computer being a felony with the possibility of jail time. Ajay already knowing this is illegal, to make Patrick feel better about what they did, promises never to hack into a government computer again.

Then the movie plot and storyline shifts to Emma, the radio talk show host who loves to give relationship advice. She is totally into helping others not settle for second best. Emma has life planning down to a science. She even wrote a book titled R*E*A*L*LOVE with the goal of helping others determine what personality and relationship type is best suited for them. Emma has complete disregard for her advice causing negative ramifications or hurting anyone. She cannot fathom such a thing occurring.

Emma has planned her life to the nth degree. She is engaged with the perfect for her Richard Bratton (Colin Firth) who works for the respectable publishing house who has published her book. Richard is what her father, Wilder Lloyd (Sam Shepard), regards as ultra-reliable and safe; the opposite of her father. Emma views her life as perfect.

She maintains this happy view until Emma and Richard go to get their marriage license. New York City's Marriage Bureau informs Emma she is already married to a Patrick Sullivan from Queens, New York. The kind city official helpfully gives Emma all the documents required for an annulment. All documents have to be signed by both parties who are listed on the marriage license certificate. Emma is given her husband's address. Stunned by the unexpected occurring, Emma takes the paperwork and Patrick's address.

Without hesitation or prompting, Emma promises Richard she will immediately straighten this mess, and then takes a taxi to Queens in search of a husband she has never met. She deduces this is all caused by some sort of computer glitch in the city's system. Emma figures it will be a snap to get her life back onto its proper course. She thinks this Patrick Sullivan will want to sign the paperwork as much as she since they have never met; do not know one another.

The rest of the movie is about Emma perseveringly attempts to correct this ghastly error, meeting Patrick and contending with his lack of willingness that forces her to spend time with him against her better judgment. Emma fears Richard will not remain understanding and is determined to marry her perfect match.

Patrick stoops to getting Emma drunk upon meeting her. He evades immediately signing the documents by promising to sign them later. He is determined to make her suffer. Patrick revels in his getting even plan. He even lowers himself by inviting himself to go with Emma for her appointment with the cake maker to choose her perfect wedding cake.

This is where the twists in the plot become more twisted. Patrick and Emma meet Greta Bollenbecker (Isabella Rossellini). She is married to the man who recently purchased the publishing house Richard works for and Greta mistakes Patrick for Emma's fiancé. This mistaken identity leads the plot into an exotic turn where Patrick deliberately feigns being Richard. He views this as the perfect opportunity for it forces Emma to be around him more.

Patrick's being such a good sport about the mistaken identity and going along with Emma's ideas that would save Richard's desk job, causes Emma to re-examine her life's choices including her pending marriage to Richard. Emma feels confused. She has unexpected feelings for Patrick. Emma at first is appalled by them. He is a fireman from Queens, most unsuitable; completely the opposite of her life's plans for marriage and a husband.

Patrick at first with unsavory plans of his own, unintentionally incrementally falls in love with the one woman he never planned to allow in his life. Patrick realizes he cannot go through with all he planned. Patrick finds hurting Emma too mean. She is beautiful, intelligent and fun to be around. Patrick's unexpected feelings make Patrick realize ruining someone else's life can cause a guy to lose the woman he truly loves. Patrick alters his plans to wooing Emma. He deliberately stalls signing the annulment documents any way he can. He does not want to lose this wife.

The Accidental Husband like most romantic-comedies does have a happy ending, but not the expected ending most believe the main female lead character will chose. My husband and I were both surprised by how this movie ended. We believed the opposite would happen for the story's ending throughout the entire viewing. Great writing scriptwriters!

The rest of the primary cast included (in order of the credits): Ajay Naidu (Deep, Ajay's father and Patrick's landlord), Nick Sandow (Larry, Queens Fireman and friend of Patrick's), Michael Mosley (Queens Fireman and friend of Patrick's), Brooke Adams (Carolyn, Wilder Lloyd's secret wife), Lindsey Kraft (Lauren, Carolyn's teenage daughter), Sarita Choudhury (Sunny, Ajay's mother), Yolande Bavan (Naniji, relative of Ajay's family), Keir Dullea (Karl Bollenbecker, Greta Bollenbecker's husband and owner of publishing house where Richard works), Adesola A. Osakalumi (Didier), Devika Bhise (Chandini), Kristina Klebe (Katerina Bollenbecker), Irmingard Klebe (Aunt Irmingard), Joerge Klebe (Uncle Joerge) and Kaushik Shastry (Pandit).

Director Griffin Dunne, cast and crew expertly created a delightfully fun and hilarious PG-13 movie. The Accidental Husband is definitely a job well done. Hats off to all involved with this film’s creation!

There is very adult subject matter in The Accidental Husband that is inappropriate, in my opinion as a mother and grandmother, for viewers who are 12 years old and younger. I would even question teenagers seeing this because Ajay, the computer whiz kid, does commit a crime by hacking into a city's government computer. Parental guidance is highly advised.

My husband and I did enjoy The Accidental Husband . We did not agree with everything this movie advised or recommended. This is the kind of movie that is fun to watch if not taken seriously. For those adults who love the comedy or romance genre, this movie comes highly recommended. Hey, all Colin Firth, Sam Shepard and Uma Thurman fans, The Accidental Husband is definitely a good movie to put on your "must see" list. Enjoy!

4 stars for The Accidental Husband


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    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I don't remember this movie, it sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for the review!


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