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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Who's On First?

The Accidental Husband on IMDb

Plot Overview


New York WZPZ's bluestocking “Khoja of modern romances” Dr. Emmeline “Emma” Lloyd (Uma Thurman) fields cold calls from the Big Apple's women seeking love advice. In days past they would have universally been told not to sleep with a guy before he marries you, but these have bought into the canard that it's just a piece of paper. For example, Carmen Renee Berry & Tamara Traeder offer this advice to their floundering sisters:

In addition to the more conservative and usually religious voices calling for sex only within marriage, a surprising number of secular voices are admonishing women to remember the adage, “Why buy the cow if the milk is free?” Pat Allen in her book Staying Married … and Loving It, writes, “Most modern, liberated, sexually active women believe they can maintain control over their emotions after making love. What they don't realize is that when a woman gives her body to a man, there's a strong chance that she's going to bond to him—even after only one good sexual encounter.” (Berry 82)
Anthropologist Desmond Morris—best known for his book, The Naked Ape—writes of human sexual relations: (247)
The [sexual] preliminaries provide time for careful judgments to be made, judgments that may be hard to form once the massive, shared emotional impact of double orgasm has been experienced. This powerful moment can act as such a tight ‘bonder’ that it may well tie together two people quite unsuited to each other, if they have not spent sufficient time exploring each other's personalities during the sexual preliminaries. (247)

filesThe exception to the sexual liberation trend is Sofia Chechagua (Justina Machado) a Dominican of good Catholic upbringing who's getting cold feet before her wedding a week away. The doc's advice to do what she knows is best gets heeded, but Sofia is unable to articulate her reasons to her intended, fireman Patrick Sullivan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan,) why she's leaving him, but he had accidentally been tuned into the radio show and blames Dr. Lloyd. His mischievous young neighbor Ajay (Jeffrey Tedmori) hacks into the state's marriage registry and presents Patrick with a fait accompli license showing he and the doctor are wed, to give her a taste of her own medicine.

paperworkpencilThe busy doctor cannot get married to her editor cum fiancé Richard Bratton (Colin Firth) until this impediment is cleared up, so she tracks down Patrick to get his signature on the annulment papers. He joins her at some bridal shopping event during which they tell a white lie—her show advises against such—to a window shopper Frau Greta Bollen­becker (Isabella Rossellini) that he Patrick is her fiancé Richard.

book signing event

bound bookThe frau shows up later at the doc's book signing event and lets slip that her husband Herr Bollen­becker (Keir Dullea) has acquired the doc's publisher and intends to liquidate it. Emma does some on-the-spot damage control by introducing the German woman's husband to Patrick posing as Richard and they hit it off, so she is stuck with the ruse.

They four repair to Ajay's Indian bit mitzvah crowded with people. In the old days, we are told, when they had arranged marriages, the groom was supposed to find his initials inscribed some­where on his bride's painted body. That's the only bit of writing they had at the wedding, because the whole village and their brother were there, so who needed some piece of paper to show it happened? A sympathetic German agrees to keep the publisher, sparing the doctor's book and her fiancé's job.

loversboy and girlRichard purchases the rings inscribed with an abbreviated vow (“I do”,) but Emma gets cross eyed trying to read it on a circular surface. Mean­while, she and Patrick seem to have fallen for each other leaving them­selves and others conflicted.

puzzled ladiesIn the normal course of events, nuptials involve vows, witnesses, and paper­work all for one couple's benefit. Here these three elements have been granted independence from one another leaving the writers fertile ground to mess with us, and the audience opportunity to laugh them­selves silly … if they are not befuddled by it all. It is much like a passage in a William Wormser novel: “Every time he'd run into a Gentile, like the Mormons called any­body who wasn't one of then, he'd been asked about a thing that kept coming up. Had he seen any Mormons with more than one wife? ¶“He couldn't say he had, and he was too much a mountain man to believe in that old one about where there's smoke there's fire. On the Yellow­stone, for instance, there was smoke, and when you got to the bottom of it, no fire but plenty of water and the smoke coming through it in bubbles.” (42)


Cupid's dartThe not unexpected romance that blossoms between the two leads is so convo­luted as to be prepos­terous were it not for the movie world preparing us for it. Think along the lines of, (Prov. 30:18-19) “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.” The writer of this saying in the Good Book cannot track an eagle drifting on the air currents, a slithering serpent on a rock, or a ship tossed on the sea, much less “the way of a man with a maid.”

The air show in this movie consists of a flying soccer ball during Patrick's game, which represents his passion and spontaneity. Behind the pitch is a massive model steel sphere representing Emma's original guy Richard, staid and true if set in his ways. There's also a dart board inside the bar where Patrick tries to hit the target with a flying projectile.

vegetables“The way of a serpent upon a rock” is represented by the cue ball on the table where Emma is engaging the fellows in the bar she tracks Patrick down to. The first is an easy shot, nine ball to the corner where it's about to drop in any­way. Her first caller was Sofia who'd been rescued by Patrick in a fire that consumed her whole family. Patrick was there for her, but he's been the only one in her life as she'd failed to develop any more friend­ships, not at the green­grocer, or in the park, or at work, and now she finds her­self “scared of being alone.” She had violated Haynes & Edwards, The Dating Hand­book: To Be Successful at the Dating Game, “Have friends of both sexes” (38). It's a no-brainer that she shouldn't go through with the wedding.

The second shot is one Emma misses by a country mile. A caller Reesa with scads of dates complained that she has yet to find her true Prince Charming. Emma advises her that, “this serial dating of yours is a waste of time.” She should determine what she wants and go after it. However, authoresses Carmen Renee Berry et al advise about Sport Dating.

While the concept of quantity dating may seem over­whelming or even impossible for sheer lack of men, one quality of sport dating may help every­one who is frustrated in finding a satis­factory relation­ship. A positive aspect of sport dating is that it is fun. It may seem that if you are not sure “he's the one,” that you cannot spend time with him. How­ever, as one grown woman was told by her mother, “Lighten up! When I was dating, my friends and I went out with several men, and no one demanded that you be exclusive right away. This doesn't have to be so deadly serious. Have some fun!” (19)
Author Paul Landis writes In Defense of Dating:
It is quite logical to believe that some kind of dating is necessary to the development of the judgment and pair interaction that is at the root of real objectivity in mate selec­tion. Those who have dated more than one person have a chance to compare and to learn some of the usual behavior patterns of members of the opposite sex. They learn to distinguish between those whose personalities seem to promise a durable compatibility and those whose personalities obviously do not. Dating is an explor­atory experience through which young people learn. In most circles today, there­fore, it is considered desirable that young people “circulate” rather than “go steady” from the beginning, that some variety of dating experi­ence is favorable to ultimate mate choice. The girl who is considered desirable as a date by a number of fellows is presumed to be the one most likely to be sought after in marriage. (223)

candlesChurchThe water scene not to be out­done is the fire­man washing his truck turns around to drench the doctor come to inquire of him where to find Patrick. There's also a scene where St. Paul's Church must empty in a hurry when the ceiling sprinklers get activated. The story by stages gets turned around and swept along.

Production Values

” (2008) was directed by Griffin Dunne. It was written by Mimi Hare, Clare Naylor and Bonnie Sikowitz. It stars Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Justina Machado. Also featured are Sam Shepard as Wilder, Keir Dullea as Mr. Bollen­becker, Sarita Choudhury as Sunny and Lindsay Sloane as Marcy. Thurman is a natural at comedy in this her first attempt on the big screen. Dean Morgan makes a credible knight in shining armor with­out over­playing his part. Firth was a cookie cutter Brit.

MPA rated it PG–13 for some sexual content and brief strong language. New York seemed almost provincial the way the characters kept running into each other. The turns of events happen almost too fast to follow. Fire truck action was practically nonexistent from the three female writers. If there is a wedding, it's not the kind you'd want to cry at. Any plot holes would have gone by me as I was too busy laughing to spot them. Runtime is 1½ hours.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

If you want to watch a movie where characters do their best to live out advice from a radio personality, I recommend you see, “I Belong To You.” For comedic enter­tainment, how­ever, TAH is the ticket.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Allen, Dr. Patricia and Sandra Harmon, Staying Married … and Loving It. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1997. As quoted.

Berry, Carmen Renee and Tamara Traeder. Girlfriends Talk About Men. Berkeley: Wildcat Canyon Press, 1997. Print.

Haynes, Cyndi and Dale Edwards. 2002 Things To Do On a Date. Holbrook, MA: Bob Adams Pub., 1992. Print.

Landis, Paul H. Making the Most of Marriage. New York: Meredith Publishing, 1965. Print.

Morris, Desmond. Manwatching. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977. Print.

Wormser, Richard, Battalion of Saints. Copyright © 1961 by Richard Wormser. New York: David McKay Company, Inc. Print.