The rom­com dies again

THE AC­CI­DEN­TAL HUS­BAND Di­rected by Grif­fin Dunne. Star­ring Uma Thur­man, Colin Firth, Jef­frey Dean Morgan, Sam Shep­ard, Isabella Ros­sellini

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - New Dvds | Film Reviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

12A cert, gen re­lease, 90 min

HERE’S an in­ter­est­ing thing. Brooke Adams and Sam Shep­ard, both look­ing at­trac­tively weath­ered, are here united for the first time since de­liv­er­ing iconic per­for­mances in Ter­rence Mal­ick’s Days of Heaven 30 years ago.

Now, I never thought I’d get to men­tion that ec­cen­tric film when I sat down to watch this de­press­ingly abysmal ro­man­tic com­edy. It seems even less likely that The Ac­ci­den­tal Hus­band might call to mind 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the evil Ger­man busi­ness­man is, in­deed, played by that film’s Keir Dul­lea. This is like be­ing trapped in an episode of The Twi­light Zone con­cern­ing a plot by the Bad Movie Falange to im­prison all their en­e­mies from the Good Movie Mili­tia. We have to make it stop.

The time when we might have de­scribed The Ac­ci­den­tal Hus­band as the nail in the cof­fin of the rom­com has long passed. This wad of trash might bet­ter be imag­ined as with­ered flow­ers cast on a grave from which even the worms have fled. It is clumsy, cyn­i­cal, badly acted, hope­lessly sen­ti­men­tal and con­sis­tently il­log­i­cal. I’m only sorry Doris Day is still alive to see it.

The point at which the ghastly mess col­lapses in upon it­self comes when posh Isabella Ros­selini has her sec­ond meet­ing with talk-ra­dio star Uma Thur­man. It goes some­thing like this:

Some weeks be­fore her mar­riage to Colin Firth, a snob­bish pub­lisher, Thur­man ad­vises a lis­tener to ditch her own fi­ance. When the un­for­tu­nate schlub, a fire­man played by Jef­frey Dean Morgan, dis­cov­ers the cause of his beloved’s re­treat, he ar­ranges for a hacker to al­ter the city records in such a way as to sug­gest that he (Morgan) and she (Thur­man) are mar­ried. It’s a prank, you see, In the course of their at­tempts to dis­solve the fake mar­riage, Thur­man and Morgan en­counter Ros­sellini and, for no rea­son, en­ter­tain her mis­con­cep­tion that they are en­gaged.

Still with me? Some days later, it be­comes clear that Is­abel’s evil hus­band is set to buy Firth’s firm and liq­ui­date him.

What’s that noise? Is it the sound of nar­ra­tive gears grind­ing against one an­other? Maybe it’s the sound of Thur­man re­peat­edly bang­ing her head against cup­boards, doors and book­shelves in her at­tempts to in­ject hu­mour into this wit­less far­rago.

Smash your face against the wall one more time, Uma. You are dazed and nau­seous, you say. Now you know how we feel.

Some­what fa­mous: Thur­man

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