Accidental Love started life, back in 2008, under the title Nailed. Seven years later, like a European country about to be kicked out of the EU, the film has gone through numerous financial troubles, has been disowned by its director, due to the film being completed without his involvement, and has undergone a name change, presumably in the hope of flying below the radar of the former titles troubles. All in spite of the fact that it has the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel and Catherine Keener starring in it. So does Accidental Love spring eternal or should this have had its coffin Nailed shut years ago?
Small town waitress Alice (Biel) seemingly has it all; she’s pretty, has a great job and is going on a hot date with her cop boyfriend (James Marsden). But while on the date Alice is the victim of a DIY job gone wrong and has a nail lodged in her brain. The bigger problem is she doesn’t have health insurance so heads to Washington to lobby baby faced Congressman Birdwell (Gyllenhaal) who is hoping to stick a health bill on to a military moon base bill.
Accidental Love wants to be a satire about how the US health and political systems are catastrophically broken. It wants to be a slapstick comedy that hopes to gain laughs from a repeated gag about a woman with a head trauma getting constantly hit on the head. It is safe to say it works on none of these fronts. While David O. Russell has had his name removed from the film, replaced with the fictional Stephen Greene, there is a tonal similarity to his 2004 comedy I Heart Huckabees with its cartoonish characters and outlandish ideas. But like that film it winds up being a confused mess.
What is most frustrating is there is a kernel of an idea here that could have born interesting fruit. Because the nail in Alice’s head means that she no longer has any inhibitions. Imagine that premise in a dark comedy, a comedy without a “funny” story line about a military moon base. It’s an interesting idea that is never mined further than a few passing comments and the occasional romp with a Congressman.
Instead we get a film that was never completed but what scenes were shot are thrown together in a dish not dissimilar to the trifle Rachel cooked in Friends, complete with layers of beef, custard and lady-fingers. Suffice to say it is hard to swallow but will often leave you mouth-aghast at how someone, anyone thought it was a good idea to even try and salvage this horrible mess.
Accident is the operative word in Accidental Love that, like its original director, you’d be best off running a mile from.