Alice's perfect life is turned upside down when a freak accident leaves a nail lodged in her head, causing erratic (and erotic) behavior. After her fiancé calls off the engagement, Alice sets off in search of a cure and falls into the arms of Howard Birdwell, a sexy senator who champions her cause. Caught up in a love triangle held together by a nail, will Alice listen to her head or her heart?
'Accidental Love' began as a David O. Russell-helmed film called 'Nailed.' He began working on and shooting the film around seven years ago. Based onf Kristin Gore's novel "Sammy's Hill," the story was to follow a young drive-in roller skating waitress who heads to Washington in order to spur health care reform after she's unable to pay for a surgery after an errant nail from a nail gun finds its way into her skull. What transpires is a curiously perfect example of well laid Hollywood plans utterly imploding.
Russell publically disowned the film after a slew of production shutdowns. Though, the studio not wanting to waste a languishing film starring recognizable faces like Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, Bill Hader, and Catherine Keener decided to slap together the entrails, slap a fictitious nom de plume on the director credit – seriously, Russell's name was wiped from the film and a Stephen Greene was stuck in his place. Even IMDb directorial credits state "Directed by David O. Russell (as Stephen Greene)." Needless to say, this is entire thing is a big boiling mess of a movie.
It's clear what feel Russell was going for before he gave up on the endeavor. The movie acts like it wants to exist in the same zany quasi-reality as shows like '30 Rock' or 'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.' Unfortunately, it doesn't come close to capturing the light-hearted airiness of those shows. It's a screwball comedy without the congenial likability. It's almost offensive to watch so many talented actors wasting away in such an awful end product.
The timing is all off. It's obvious that the final cut was cobbled together of something grander and funnier. The editing here feels just horribly spliced together. There's a palpable sense of salvaging going on here. An attempt to try and release a doomed movie by any means possible. It should've been left dead and buried.
What's so strange is that the talent involved is actually quite good. That's what makes 'Accidental Love' from being one of the worst movies you'll ever have the displeasure of seeing. At least Biel, who plays nail-in-the-head Alice, does so with gusto. It's evident that she's putting much more into this role than what's being conveyed through its haphazard final polish. Alice is in love with Scott (Marsden), an Indiana Highway Patrol officer who is just a perfect James Marsden character. Again, there are remnants of a better movie here as Marsden is given time to smirk and be the pompous douchebag he's so great at being. Congressman Howard Birdwell (Gyllenhaal) is the man they meet in Washington when it comes time to reform the nation's healthcare system. Gyllenhaal is wide-eyed, funny, likable, and ridiculous. Still, it's all about the movie surrounding them. They're all pretty good, but the product they're enveloped in is poisonous.
You get the sense that Russell was going for some sort of dark comic comment on the inane procedures and rules of Washington D.C. There's something there. There really is. That's what's so damn frustrating about this experience is that you watch it and you're mystified at how it ended up this way.
With all the talent involved 'Accidental Love,' or 'Nailed' should've been a decent-to-great dark comedy about politics and idiots. Instead what we get is a slap-dash bandage job from the studio hoping that people will buy into it wondering how they missed this film with all these great actors. Don't be fooled. Russell disowned it for a reason. The only reason to watch it is pure morbid curiosity. Right now you're asking yourself, "Come on, how bad can it really be?" Look, I understand. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
A barebones Blu-ray release. One 25-GB Blu-ray, and that's it.
'Accidental Love's 1080p transfer suffers from the same lack of care that plagued the movie. What we have here is one of the most uneven video presentations you'll ever see. Especially for a recently filmed movie.
Having been mostly filmed in 2008, it was actually filmed on 35mm. This provides quite a nice cinematic grain and presence to the image. There are moments, all of them in well-lit scenes, where detail and clarity converge into a near flawless image. Though there's no care given to nighttime scenes where crush absolutely takes over. Shadows ravage the image. They block out faces, objects, and whole people. The darker scenes really are terrible to watch. You can't tell what's happening at all. One scene, involving some strange nighttime campfire ritual is unimaginably dark.
Colors are wildly all over the place. Saturation levels peak and dip at the strangest times. Skin tones appear overly tan and then flaccidly pale almost simultaneously. The image wavers between detailed to waxy and unrefined. There was obviously no time in the process to give it the slight color corrections it might have needed since the director wasn't actually there to give his input. And since this never reached theaters, this release is the definitive source. Take my word for it, it's pretty ugly.
There is a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix to go along with the movie, which isn't half bad. I guess if we were going to pick out the best thing about this release it would be the audio mix, but that's not saying much at all.
It's a talk-heavy film that features a good percentage of its sound front and center. Dialogue is clear enough most of the time. Music provides some ambiance. The surround channels are pretty anemic when it comes to providing a like-your-there atmosphere, especially when Alice finds herself in front of full congressional hearing. You'd think the rear channels would be clamoring with voices and echoes, but for the most part it seemed that many of those effects were still located up front.
There's not much else to say about the audio mix. It does what it's asked to do, and disappoints slightly when it comes to the surround sound. However, the movie's so bad the last thing you'll be thinking about is the intricacies of rear channel effectiveness.
There are no special features provided. Surprise, surprise.
Whoa boy, this one is ugly. The most maddening aspect is that there's a good, funny movie somewhere buried deep within this mess. A movie that no one will be able to see. By all accounts it was a doomed production. It should've stayed in Hollywood limbo for eternity. There's nothing else you need to know. The video stinks, the audio is so-so, and the final verdict is a most decided avoid it at all costs.