A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this by-the-book romantic comedy is entertaining enough, and may offer laughs to teens who adore the genre. The sexual situations are very mild for the PG-13 rating, the language is only occasionally spicy, and a character gets very drunk in a bar scene.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Dr. Emma Lloyd (Uma Thurman) has the inside scoop on relationships, and she’s become famous for the zinging opinions she shares on the subject as a Manhattan-based radio talk show host. She has no patience for those who pine for Prince Charming, and she believes women shouldn’t settle for second best. She ought to know; her fiance (Colin Firth) is the perfect specimen. When an avid listener dumps her boyfriend, Patrick (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), after taking Lloyd’s longtime compatibility test and finds her relationship wanting, he’s hungry for revenge. His plan: To get a friend to hack into city records so it shows he’s listed as Lloyd’s husband, a mess she’ll have to undo so she can walk down the aisle. But doing so will complicate things quite a bit.
Is it any good?
THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND is enjoyable enough; some twists -- there’s one setup that unfolds at a book party -- are actually hilarious. Two people from very different walks of life fall in love under the oddest of circumstances; they start out attached to other people, but end up together. Not much new there. On the whole, it’s so indistinct, how could it possibly offend? There’s even the requisite, albeit brief, sing-along. (Since My Best Friend’s Wedding, what rom-com doesn’t have this?)
Thurman tries valiantly to keep the audience from realizing the material’s formulaic, and her efforts, for the most part, pay off. Morgan and Firth are quite game, too. The cinematography, crisp and pretty and visiting less-known NYC locales like Astoria, helps. But overacting from some of the supporting characters dilutes an already watery stew, except for Isabella Rossellini, Brooke Adams, and still-suave Sam Shepard in surprising and delightful supporting turns.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about true love, or as the film likes to put it, “real love.” Is there such a thing? Do people only have one soulmate?
What about Emma’s advice? Does the film subvert what she’s espousing in the movie? How?
What about the genre itself: Do romantic comedies do love a disservice? If yes, how?
- In theaters: November 10, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: November 10, 2009
- Cast: Colin Firth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Uma Thurman
- Director: Griffin Dunne
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some sexual content and brief strong language.
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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