Accidental Love – Stephen Greene, 15, 2015
Netflix rates it: 1.5/5
I rate it: 2/5
Accidental Love follows the story of Alice (Jessica Biel) who, during a freak accident, ends up with a nail lodged in her head causing her to suffer from a lack of inhibition. After being denied healthcare due to her not having insurance, she attempts to convince local government representative Howard (Jake Gyllenhaal) to help her, and others in similar situations, pass a bill to pay medical bills after catastrophic accidents.
Possibly the best part about the film is Biel and Gyllenhaal’s on-screen chemistry; some of the funniest parts involve their characters’ interactions. Gyllenhaal plays his clueless character in a charming way, which is refreshing to see as government officials are often portrayed in a more negative manner in films of a similar genre. Biel also plays her character well, making her likeable and interesting, and portraying her lack of inhibition in an amusing way. Some of the characters are not likeable at all, in particular Alice’s ex-fiancé (James Marsden), however this seems to only emphasise the film’s comedic value.
There is a clear political message, as the entirety of the film is based around the differences between the government and the general public’s healthcare (although clearly, the real-life issues surrounding this are different than they were when the film was first started). A critical commentary on the way the US government makes decisions and prioritises certain things is also apparent. However, despite this overall theme, Accidental Love is not heavy-going or difficult to understand; Gyllenhaal’s character himself clearly has no understanding of politics, so the audience definitely doesn’t need any!
A hopeful and positive feeling remains consistent in Biel’s character throughout most of the film, which makes it a pleasant watch. However, Accidental Love suffers slightly from not quite being a romantic comedy and not quite a political comedy. It is more a hybrid of the two, and so some elements seem slightly mixed up at times.
Although the film feels confusing in places, this is largely due to the fact that original director David O. Russell left it unfinished in 2008 and had it completed without his further input, so slight inconsistencies are bound to occur. Regardless, it is nice to see a project that had been shelved for so long come to life.
Described as a ‘political satire,’ Accidental Love actually doesn’t feel very humorous for the most part, although there are some amusing sequences that allow it to still be considered part of the comedic genre. Despite the plentiful negative reviews, the film remains entertaining, and the talented main cast (including Catherine Keener and Tracy Morgan) save it from being a dull watch. Probably not a film you would want to watch many times, but certainly entertaining if you have some free time and fancy something a little bit quirky.