Director: Stephen Greene (David O. Russell)
Starring: Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal & James Marsden
Synopsis: A small town waitress gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing unpredictable behaviour that leads her to Washington, D.C., where sparks fly when she meets a clueless young senator who takes up her cause – but what happens when love interferes with what you stand for?
Rating: 15 Run time: 100 minutes Release date: 20 July (DVD)
Some ideas are best left alone, and that is firmly the case with Accidental Love. The film, based upon Kristen Gore’s (daughter of Al) novel; Sammy’s Hill, is a certified mess and one wonders how it ever saw the light of day. What started out as a David O. Russell directed affair titled Nailed has somehow deteriorated into an incomprehensible bore fest, with little to recommend it.
Jessica Biel plays Alice, a small town waitress who has the misfortune of having a nail stuck in her head when out on a date with boyfriend Scott (James Marsden). For several reasons, Alice cannot afford her health care insurance, and with help not forthcoming from her friends or family, it appears that poor Alice will have to learn to live with the side effects.
Of the side effects, the most prominent is Alice losing her inhibitions, which makes her a tad unpredictable and leads her on a crusade to Washington D.C. where she plans to change Congress with the help of several new friends, and Jake Gyllenhaal’s dim witted Senator. The ensuing 100 minutes is as barmy as a film can get and unfortunately the films troubled production is paramount.
A simple internet search reveals the myriad of issues that director Russell faced during his time with the film. His relationship with the films producers became so broken that Russell had no other choice than to walk away. Attempts were then made to restructure Accidental Love into something watchable by a new producer, but only ended up with Russell completely removing his name from the film and have it replaced by a pseudonym.
Normally a films troubled production wouldn’t come into play when reviewing a film, because as well all know, even the most problematic of productions can still result in a great film. However, it does seem logical that whatever happened behind the scenes here had a hugely negative impact on the final cut. The hastily edited footage that has been put up on screen is nothing short of woeful. Scenes chop and change making Accidental Love feel like a jigsaw puzzle that was put together in the dark.
The punishment the audience must tolerate is only mildly alleviated by a willing cast who try their best with a muddled script and lack of direction. But even they fail to bring proceedings to an enjoyable standard. While they are certainly doing their professional best, it seems that there is little anyone can do to save the film from the clutches of its uneasy development. List this one in the avoid category.
In summary: Accidental Love is an uninspiring mess of a film, no doubt brought down by production issues. Despite its talented cast, the film never takes off and will likely leave a sour taste in the mouths of viewers.