Perfect, split-second comic timing is a rare gift.

Few actors possess it - regrettably, Uma Thurman isn't one of them.

The Oscar-nominated actress is well equipped to wield a Samurai sword in a tracksuit as Tarantino's vengeful heroine The Bride, or trip the light fantastic with John Travolta at Jack Rabbit Slim's, but when it comes to pratfalls and snappy one-liners, Thurman looks ill at ease.

In previous films like The Truth About Cats And Dogs and Prime, she relied on co-stars Janeane Garofalo and Meryl Streep to pick up the slack.

Unfortunately, in Griffin Dunne's romantic comedy The Accidental Husband, Thurman walks the aisle alone without a quick-witted bridesmaid to catch her when she trips.

She has to work incredibly hard for every half-hearted chuckle; so hard that we almost feel bad for not laughing more.

When it comes to falling in love, radio host Dr Emma Lloyd (Thurman) - author of the self-help tome R.E.A.L. Love - knows best.

Dispensing words of wisdom to her unhappy, unsatisfied and desperate listeners, Emma encourages total strangers to pursue perfection in their partners, just like her own Mr Right, dashing publisher Richard Bratton (Firth).

Emma's advice comes back to haunt her when she suggests one caller, Sofia (Machado), should break up with her boyfriend, firefighter Patrick Sullivan (Morgan).

In revenge, Patrick sets out to wreck Emma's impending nuptials by hacking into city hall records and falsifying a previous marriage certificate - to him.

When Emma discovers the glitch, she contacts Patrick and begs him to sign an annulment.

Feigning ignorance, Patrick heartily agrees and then stalls for as long as possible to prolong Emma's misery.

However, Patrick's mischievous prank backfires when he begins to fall under Emma's spell.

The Accidental Husband is incredibly contrived and the plot unfolds without any surprises.

Thurman struggles with the comedy but there's still something quite appealing about her deceived heroine as she careers headlong towards predictable emotional disaster.

There's no screen chemistry between Thurman and Firth, but Morgan has a twinkle in his eye throughout and will doubtless leave female audience members in a swoon - whether he is in, or out, of his fireman's uniform.

Luckily for Patrick and his crew, this film never catches light.