Accidental Love Review: Clumsy, Flimsily Construct And Horribly Uneven
With flimsily construct that it resembles a middle-school play that’s been hastily filmed on an antique camcorder.
When David O. Russell abandons a film at some point during its production, or post-production, and leaves a pseudonym in his wake… it’s probably fair to assume it was for a reason, and that the movie is unsalvageable.
In the case of Accidental Love, that’s not strictly true. Although, tonally, it is an absolute mess, it has some deliciously funny, absurdly farcical moments and performances, and its colour palette makes it feel like someone has pasted bubblegum onto your eyeballs.
The story is kind of a Ms Smith Goes to Washington style-tale; Alice (Biel) gets a nail lodged in her head in an unfortunate accident, causing all sorts of loopy behaviour. When it transpires that she doesn’t have the insurance or money necessary to cover the operation, she travels to Capitol Hill with some of her similarly-aggrieved friends (including a spectacular one-two punch of Tracy Morgan and Kurt Fuller) and inspires wide-eyed senator Jake Gyllenhaal to take up her crusade for healthcare reform. Love and wacky hijinx ensue.
Jessica Biel gives good naiveté and craziness (due to the aforementioned nail in her skull). Jake Gyllenhaal sells his novice politicking crusader act. The standout is probably James Marsden, the not-as-cool-as-he-thinks bike cop, Biel’s would-be fiancée at the onset of the film; if people didn’t know it already, he confirms it here – the man has great comedic chops.
In the end, the film lacks focus, and its meandering tonality is not for everyone. It’s hard to say who the film is for, and easy to see why Russell ultimately distanced himself from it – but not to the extent that he did.
Alice’s perfect life is turned upside down when a freak accident leaves a nail lodged in her head, causing erratic (and erotic) behavior. After her fiancé calls off the engagement, Alice sets off in search of a cure and falls into the arms of Howard Birdwell, a sexy senator who champions her cause. Caught up in a love triangle held together by a nail, will Alice listen to her head or her heart?
Rating: PG-13 (for sexual contact and language)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Directed By: David O. Russell
Written By: Dave Jeser, Kristin Gore, Matt Silverstein
In Theaters: Mar 20, 2015 Limited
Cast: Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, Paul Reubens, Kurt Fuller, James Brolin.
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Millennium Entertainment
Some Critics Opinion about ‘Accidental Love’:
Kate Muir (Times – UK)
Accidental Love fields a top-level cast in a low-level comedy that combines the peculiar subjects of a nail in the brain, and pork-barrel Washington politics.
Bilge Ebiri (New York Magazine/Vulture)
Accidental Love is an utter mess, which is understandable given its troubled provenance. It’s also fascinating.
Dave Calhoun (Time Out)
The misplaced screwball energy is wearying.
Jason Best (Movie Talk)
If Russell had been around to fine tune Accidental Love… in its final stages then the satirical blows the film aims at US politics and health care would surely have had a better chance of hitting their target.