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June 19, 2015
For some 7 years, David O’ Russell’s aborted satire Accidental Love sat jittering in the Hollywood incubator, nervously waiting to find out if it would ever see the cinematic light of day. Plagued with numerous production halts, financial problems and O’ Russell actively disowning the project in 2010, the film has received its fair share of turbulence before finally reaching our screens.
The final result exhibits this in no uncertain terms. Adapted from Kristen Gore’s novel ‘Sammy’s Hill’, the film cantankerously tries to tackle the issue of health care in the USA to groan-inducing effect. Messy and unfunny, one suspects that even the cast themselves wish that the film had remained shelved, rather than blowing the dust off and crowbarring it into cinemas.
We begin in small-town Indiana where leading woman Alice (Jessica Biel), a waitress at a vintage café, is set to receive a proposal from cop boyfriend Scott (James Marsden). When dining in the Fancy Gondola, the top restaurant in town, Alice receives a nail to the head from a rogue nail gun, interrupting the couple as Howard prepares to get down on one knee. Having been subsequently rushed to hospital and prepped for surgery, it transpires that she has no insurance and has to shell out a whopping $150,000 to have the nail removed, incidentally lodged in a key part of the brain.
If disturbed, the nail could affect her motor and communicative capacities, but could more ‘hilariously’ cause her to lose all sexual inhibitions and dribble incessantly at the mouth. Faced with no other option than to follow the yellow brick road down to Washington in search of legislative aid, she sets off with Reverend Norm (Kurt Fuller) and Keyshawn (Tracy Morgan) in tow, the latter of which requires surgery for a pro-lapsed anus.
It is a wonder as to what attracted this fair statured cast to such an idle-minded project. With appearances from the considerable likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, as the fresh and clueless congressman Howard Birdwell, and Catherine Keener as the opportunistic Rep. Pam Hendrickson, it begs even further belief.
The film bears some rudimentary resemblance to O’ Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, in its engagement with marginalised conditions and chaotic family dynamics, but is devoid of any of the whit, subtlety and charm that made the Oscar nominated film so loved and popular.
It is clear that following O’Russell’s only too wise departure the remaining production team attempted to cobble together what footage they had, resulting in 100 minutes of time wasted.
Like a lumbering and befuddled Frankenstein, recklessly stitched together with a nail gun, Accidental Love brings nothing new to the already exhausted Healthcare debate other than being just another angry voice.
Accidental Love is available on DVD/Blu-ray in the UK from July 20th