Accidental Love

As Buzz Lightyear would say, “Accidents… Accidents everywhere.” Jessica Biel, James Marsden and Academy Award nominees Jake Gyllenhaal and Catherine Keener star in Accidental Love.

Accidental LoveCast of Characters:
Alice Eckle – Jessica Biel
Howard Birdwell – Jake Gyllenhaal
Rep. Pam Hendrickson – Catherine Keener
Scott – James Marsden
Keyshawn – Tracy Morgan
Edwin – Paul Reubens
Reverend Norm – Kurt Fuller
Helen Eckle – Beverly D’Angelo
Aunt Rita – Kirstie Alley
Speaker Buck McCoy – James Brolin

Director – Stephen Greene
Screenplay – Kristin Gore, Matthew Silverstein & Dave Jeser
Based on the novel Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore
Producer – David Bergstein, Frederick R. Ulrich, Judd Payne, Matthew Rhodes & Kia Jam
Rated PG-13 for sexual contact and language

Alice Eckle (Jessica Biel) is a small town gal who works at a ’50s themed drive-in diner. On the night she is out on a special date with her boyfriend Scott (James Marsden) who intends to propose to her, Alice is involved in an accident where a restaurant repairman falls on her and hits her in the head with his nail gun. She goes to the hospital to have the nail removed, but when the doctors learn she has no insurance, they pull the plug on helping her in the middle of the surgery.

As her condition worsens and causes her to have irrational fits of rage, a sudden ability to speak foreign languages fluently and uncontrollable sexual urges, Alice takes it upon herself to travel to D.C. and meet with Congressman Howard Birdwell (Jake Gyllenhaal), who’s in the midst of a political battle over a moon base, to plead her case for universal healthcare.

She’s also accompanied by Reverend Norm (Kurt Fuller), whose medical condition is a constant erection brought on by bad pharmaceuticals, and Keyshawn (Tracy Morgan), a friend whose weight-lifting regimen led to a collapsed anus or as they affectionately call it, a “baboon’s ass”.

Who the fuck wrote this?

Even though Accidental Love is being released in 2015, you’ll notice that stars Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal and James Marsden look rather young. There’s a reason for that.

This film was made nearly a decade ago.

Why did it take so long to get released? There’s too many reasons to list on here, but we can start with reason #1 being that this film is such a massive disaster no self-respecting studio would touch it with a 10-foot pole.

Accidental Love may have about 99% nothing in common with Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, but the one thing it does have in common should be pretty obvious to figure out.

When it’s all said and done, everyone will remember this film more for the clusterfuck that happened behind the scenes while making it instead of the even bigger clusterfuck that now exists before our very eyes. The director, Stephen Greene, aka Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David O. Russell, had fits throughout the number of production halts over the financiers failing to make timely payments. James Caan walked away from the debacle (Russell has a notorious history of run-ins with his actors, most notably George Clooney, Jude Law and Lily Tomlin) and eventually the film became such a mess Russell lobbied hard to have his name removed and replaced with the pseudonym “Stephen Greene”.

Still not letting Russell off the hook here. You can change the name all you want, but there ain’t enough excuses in the world to make up for a director that talented (in just the past five years alone, he’s directed The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) putting together this pile of shit. He may not have been involved in the final process, but from what I’ve seen, the eventual “patched-up like a torn apart stuffed animal beyond repair” theatrical version we get is just an even bigger failure than the failure Russell already had on his hands.

Originally titled Nailed and based on the novel Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore (Al Gore’s daughter), Accidental Love has – or I should say had – a proven director and a proven cast of highly recognizable names. You don’t expect a film with Russell at the helm leading the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, Jessica Biel, James Marsden (who now has two definite locks for a top 10 worst revisit next year, and possibly even one more), as well as veteran comic assets like Paul Reubens, Kurt Fuller, Kirstie Alley and Beverly D’Angelo to be this awful. Fact is, though, it’s really awful, and so awful there’s no need to nominate anyone else for the Razzies next year.

I get that they’re trying for a madcap satire a la Frank Capra with the healthcare crisis as the primary target, but a film like this is proof that the madcap genre isn’t as easy as just goofing off and is much harder to create effectively than some might think. This isn’t madcap, but everyone involved simply throwing whatever they think will work at the screen and hoping it sticks. They sure go the distance in throwing the kitchen sink and then some at us viewers – nail gun accidents, moon bases, half-naked manhood rituals, death by girl scout cookies, baboon asses, constant erections – but to say nothing works is an understatement. The jokes feel forced, the satire has no bite at all and every setup has no structure (a point no better made than when Gyllenhaal joins a bizarre spiritual “workshop” that involves of all things a pair of moose balls).

What’s worse is that none of the actors here have any sort of comic timing or chemistry with each other, and that above all else is what’s needed for comedic satire. This isn’t some tacky nobody cast you typically see in those crappy Friedberg and Seltzer spoofs either; we’re dealing with proven acting talents. The two that have the strongest careers out of everyone, Jake Gyllenhaal and Catherine Keener, give two of the worst performances of their careers as they act horrendously over-the-top (even for satire standards) in a hopelessly desperate attempt to squeeze any laughs they can get out of us from the junky material.

Yeah, I know, this was eight years ago, long before Gyllenhaal got on the recent roll he’s on with End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy and Nightcrawler. But keep in mind this was also years after October Sky, Donnie Darko, Jarhead, his Oscar nomination for Brokeback Mountain and a year after one of his best performances in Zodiac. Keener already had Being John Malkovich, Capote (both of which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination), Into the Wild and Lovely and Amazing, the latter of which also stars Gyllenhaal. It’s not like either of them were up-and-comers taking whatever job they can get to kickstart their acting careers.

So, basically, yeah, I’m still holding them accountable. Imagine that. Turns out just like a bad actor can give a good performance every now and then when utilized right, a great actor can give one that sucks balls.

At least there’s a blooper reel during the end credits…

Too bad it also sucks.

Accidental Love is painfully unfunny, horribly performed, poorly assembled and riffs on a topic that would’ve been relevant around 6-8 years ago, though the topic’s relevancy – or I should say lack thereof – isn’t nearly the problem as its forced satire is. There’s not a second in this celluloid crap-bomb that won’t have you convinced this should’ve stayed at the bottom of a studio exec’s trashcan. Bottom line: This is a bad film and not even a “so bad it’s good” type of bad. It’s a disaster on par with walking in on your parents having sex and them making the matter even worse by asking you to join them.

I give Accidental Love an F (0 stars).

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