The Accidental Husband is a movie that was released in 2008 starring Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the leads. The love story in the movie is unconventional even by the standards of a romantic comedy. Romantic comedy films often present wacky obstacles to romance and even stranger setups to romance in the first place, and this film takes it to a whole new level.
The Love Story in the Movie
Uma Thurman's character is a fairly common type scene in romantic comedies: the relationship and love expert. These films frequently posit the existence of a character who is allegedly an expert on love and romance, and this character will almost always learn the truth about love and romance throughout the course of the film. Uma Thurman's character Dr. Emma Lloyd is engaged at the start of the film to Colin Firth's character Richard, making her less cynical than some of the characters of this type. However, she is clearly a relationship expert who focuses on the negative parts of certain relationships.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character Patrick actually kicks off the film by getting revenge on Emma for breaking up his engagement by encouraging his fiancee to leave him. He manages to get himself fraudulently married to Emma in order to break up her engagement, just as she did for him. This sounds like the sort of situation that is going to be an odd setup for a romance between Patrick and Emma, but a romance manages to ensue anyway. Richard is a gentleman who gives Emma love, presents, and roses and everything else. Patrick is a fire fighter who is impulsive in every way. However, by the end of the film, Emma and Patrick are the ones who are married.
It is common for modern romantic comedies to feature two characters who hate each other at the start of the movie and who love each other by the time the film is finished. There needs to be some obstacle that will keep two people apart for an entire film. Romance stories have very little tension by design, and the more mismatched two people seem to be, the more dramatic their union will become by the end of the film. Traditional barriers to romance, like concerns about class differences, have started to become less important as a result of social changes. Love stories must get their tension purely from character conflicts, and not from societal conflicts.
Suffice to say, this film is a flight of fancy. Women in the real world would choose the love, presents, and roses over everything that Patrick represents. Few women would ever want to marry a man who would exact revenge on them, and few men would ever forgive a woman who broke up an initial relationship. Emma and Richard would be married by the end, and Patrick might get back with his former fiancee after her self-doubt passed. Still, the love story in the movie makes for good drama and comedy.