Overview: A woman (Jessica Biel) gets shot in the head with a nail gun, causing her to act erratically. Her lack of health care results in a trip to Washington to campaign for free medical care for others with injuries similar to hers. On the way she falls in love with a congressman (Jake Gyllenhaal). 2015, Millennium Entertainment, PG-13, 100 minutes.
Troubled: The most intriguing part of Accidental Love isn’t the actual film at all, but its production. David O. Russell notoriously quit the film before shooting its final scenes and the whole thing was re-edited without Russell’s involvement. The film feels all over the place and just plain poor on many parts. It would be easy to blame it on the departure of its initial director, but I really wonder if O. Russell’s version would have been any better. While a defter edit would have certainly helped the film, there was too much wrong with Accidental Love for me to believe it ever would have been any good.
The Politics of Love: O. Russell wants Accidental Love to serve as an indictment of Washington and the greedy, soulless backstabbers that apparently make up the entirety of the US government. While that certainly isn’t a bad idea for a movie, it has to function beyond just the thesis. The only thing O. Russell has to say about Washington is that it’s bad, and he doesn’t even say that very well. His plot lines aren’t resolved by the end, and his apathy towards the project becomes more and more prevalent as everything moves along. The film ends up resorting to bad slapstick and an under cooked romance, causing any points it was trying to make about the government to become lost along the way. In the end, it all becomes another stomach churning romantic-comedy that would function better as a two minute parody for a romantic comedy in an episode of 30 Rock. But it isn’t. It’s far, far too real.
Forgettable: I think I would prefer Accidental Love if it were so unbearably awful and problematic that is was permanently seared into my consciousness. Unfortunately, it’s more bland and boring than anything. Only a few of the oh-so-many jokes land at all. For a movie about a woman whose sex drive increases after taking a nail to the head, Accidental Love plays everything remarkably safe. The only people who seem to actually care even a little about the film are the actors. All of them give their best as they deliver some truly absurd and awful dialogue. James Marsden plays a mustachioed cop who, for some reason, has a thing for calculating percentages. Marsden is committed and does a fine job, but the script does him no favors. His odd character almost serves as a metaphor for the whole film: A somewhat quirky and even interesting idea, that means nothing and doesn’t add up to much either. Accidental Love is the kind of movie I hate writing about because there’s so little to discuss, and it’s endlessly frustrating to return to. This is one to skip.
Overall: By the time you read this, I’ll already have forgotten about Accidental Love. Good riddance.