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