In Review: Accidental Love

by Daniel Goodwin on 21/06/2015

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Accidental Love, a film finally seeing the light of day after five years, assists Director David O’ Russell (using the nom de plume Stephen Greene) to redefine the art of terrible film-making; a rom-com to be ranked alongside other ham-fisted classics like Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), Ishtar (1987) and Batman & Robin (1997). After accepting a marriage proposal from cop Scott (James Marsden), Jessica Biel’s roller-waitress Alice accidentally has a nail shot into her head by a clumsy decorator. Unable to afford the medical treatment needed to get it removed, Alice tracks down Jake Gyllenhaal’s nimble senator Howard Birdwell to convince him to pass an affordable healthcare bill. Howard intends to use Alice in his campaign to put a military base on the moon and true love naturally intervenes.

Accidental Love strives to make light of the darkness in its characters’ lives and catastrophically crashes while doing so. Jesting sequences featuring someone choking to death on a cookie, girl scouts accused of lesbianism, a drunk Kirstie Alley attempting to remove Alice’s nail with a pair of pliers, and a priest with a perpetual erection are howlers built into a story that’s also infused with casual racism. Many of its outlandish traits are similar to those featured in O’Russell’s I Heart Huckabees (2004) and worked so well in that case but are here overshadowed by brazen faults.

Accidental Love brandishes eccentric elements that clang with incongruous humour, a garbled story and despicable characters. With many “so bad they’re good” films there is a degree of unintentional humour generated from the pap factor, along with gaudy, over-theatrical elements which spawn a welcome kitsch. Accidental Love is odd because, even though it is garish, it’s not unintentionally funny and doesn’t have much in the way of redeeming qualities bar a couple of decent performances. The key characters are either despicable or naïve and there is no one likeable enough to generate empathy.

Despite the ghastly aspects, there is something about Accidental Love that is oddly compelling: the “how can it be so awful” aspect makes it an intriguing experience for analytical film fans but one that only the most hardened of cinematic masochists would want to endure.

Daniel has awarded Accidental Love one Torch of Truth

Rating-1Torch

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