Accidental Love, 2015.
Directed by David O. Russell (as Stephen Greene).
Starring Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Marsden, Catherine Keener, Tracy Morgan and James Brolin.
A small town waitress gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing unpredictable behavior that leads her to Washington, D.C., where sparks fly when she meets a clueless young senator who takes up her cause – but what happens when love interferes with what you stand for?
Accidental Love tells us the story of Alice, a rollerblade diner waitress (Jessica Biel) who, the night her policeman boyfriend (James Marsden) is about to propose to her, gets a nail accidentally stuck in her head. When Alice realizes that she doesn’t have any health insurance to cover her operation, a race against time will start in which she will try to convince Howard Birdwell, a young senator from D.C (Jake Gyllenhaal) to pass a bill to change the situation of public health insurance.
The film starts out seemingly well, presenting us with an array of interesting characters and a satire on the genre of romantic comedies. But then, the plot turns around completely, becoming an attempt to satirize the situation of the national health system in the United States. In spite of being a film with a quick pace, plenty of characters and funny situations, it seems that the screenwriters have tried too hard to cover as many genres as possible within the same film and the shortest time period, while trying to keep a light-hearted tone throughout. Having a stellar cast and good acting by the likes of Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Marsden, Bill Hader, Catherine Keener, Pee- Wee Herman, Kurt Fuller, Tracy Morgan and a cameo by Kirstie Alley, the film ends up being a sort of amalgam of different films, trying too hard with a flamboyant, over the top plot, which doesn’t bring us anything in the end, but a happily ever after for the main characters and a few laughs.
However, the overall topic of the film is interesting and hasn’t been tackled as often by filmmakers, which gives the story an originality and freshness to it. Nevertheless, the level of the jokes becomes exponentially lower as we advance the film, from quite chauvinistic to plain racist (from Jessica Biel calling herself a whore because she’s slept with a man the same day she met him to Tracy Morgan’s character having a Baboon’s ass), becoming at times dated and out-of-place. In spite of all the bad jokes, there are some funny situations, like the recurring joke of the reverend who has a permanent erection due to taking too much Viagra, which puts him in different, embarrassing situations, or the overall caricature of the political characters and the situations with which they have to deal to gain voters. It reminds a lot of Armand Ianucci’s “In the thick of it” or “Veep”, but as a bad copy of it, with less crazy and genuinely funny situations and more laughing track jokes.
Overall, Accidental Love tries to play in the world of dark comedy, showing a part of American society we don’t get to see as much and which documentaries such as Sicko (Michael Moore) have tackled before. Ultimately, it reaches to touch the tip of the iceberg in terms of making fun of a very serious yet ludicrous situation, but leaves a bigger mess than if things were left as they are. Accidental Love could’ve been a good film, but instead gives out that lazy Sunday afternoon TV movie vibe.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ / Movie ★ ★