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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » October 14, 2009
Film review
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The Accidental Husband
October 14, 2009 By Witold ¯ygulski   
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Romantic comedies do not need to be unpredictable, loaded with plot twists and surprise endings. They do not need to stay in your head long after the movie is over. All they need to be is uplifting, to have likable characters and to avoid extreme subject matter. In other words, a romantic comedy is supposed to be a good excuse to spend a pleasant 90 minutes in a movie theater, preferably in company that is just as pleasant. The Accidental Husband from Gruffin Dunne (Practical Magic) has all this, plus a bonus in the form of a collection of cleverly written and well-cast supporting characters. Moreover, Bollywood fans are in for a treat with the Asian song and dance routines that erupt during festivities celebrating a teenager's passage into manhood.

Patrick Sullivan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan-Watchmen) is an easygoing and straightforward firefighter in New York City who divides his time between his work, his friends, with whom he plays soccer, and his fiancée Sophia, a Dominican immigrant. The two met and fell in love when Patrick carried Sophia 15 floors down a burning building and then visited her in hospital. They are all set to get married, but the young Sophia suddenly gets cold feet and wonders if knowing somebody for five months is enough to tie the knot for the rest of her life. Sophia is an avid listener of a radio show that offers advice from agony aunt Dr. Emma Lloyd (Uma Thurman-Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill). Sophia calls the show and hears that marrying Patrick is a bad idea. Patrick, who with growing irritation heard the conversation on air, first desperately tries to persuade his now ex-fiancée to return to him and then devises a plot to get even with the radio love guru.

Studying gossip columns in newspapers, Patrick finds out Dr. Lloyd is planning nuptials with her long-term boyfriend, a publisher named Richard Bratton (Colin Firth-Bridget Jones's Diary, Mamma Mia!). Determined to teach the agony aunt a lesson, Patrick gets help from an adolescent Indian computer whizz kid, the son of his landlords, to hack into the New York City Council computer and plant a document certifying that he is married... to Lloyd. Shocked, the would-be bride now has to find a man she has never heard of before in order to annul the documents. What happens next is something neither of them could have expected...

Above all, The Accidental Husband is a light study of very different characters. The spontaneous Patrick is set against the starchy Bratton (Firth retains his customary reserved English gentleman stage persona). The well-ordered world of Dr. Lloyd is suddenly shaken. The know-it-all expert turns out to be near helpless when she finds herself confronting in her own life the kind of problems she discusses on the air.

Fans of 1980s cinema are in for a pleasant surprise. Isabella Rosselini (Blue Velvet, Immortal Beloved, Wyatt Earp) returns to the big screen after a considerable break as Greta Bollenbecker, the wife of a German financial mogul who plans to buy out and shut down Bratton's publishing house.

Once a beautiful and charismatic cinema icon, Rosselini, the former public face of international cosmetics corporations, still charms, though well into middle age.
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