An accident would explain this one
Accidental Love – or Nailed before production messiness left the film in shambles – is nonsense. It was filmed in 2008 when America was in the grips of swirling health care legislation. Uninsured Jessica Biel, with a nail plunged into her head and without the funds (or insurance) to remove it, is a left wing talking point. Accidental Love becomes so scattered, it may as well be championing the right through its absurdity.
What’s here is meant to lampoon the blindness of Republicans. Pam Hendrickson (Catherine Keener) seeks to pass legislation for a moon base (“It’s for protection!”), ignoring the more immediate Earthly needs of her constituents. Satire, except not really. The ungainly bend in such a caricature is worse than a slandering campaign ad.
All of these scrambled politics are criss-crossed between genre placement, but Accidental Love does not play well in any of them. Biel’s fumbling roller skate waitress and Jake Gyllenhaal’s sly, party hopping freshman Senator are at total odds with one another. Yet, they’re a couple. Sort of.
If anything, Accidental Love captures the manic incompetence of sitting Congress, often oblivious and self-absorbed. So is this movie. Scenes make tremendous leaps between cuts, frantically seek a patch for logic, only to then siphon the script (from Kristin Gore’s novel) dry. It is left utterly thin, a patchwork job meant to recoup costs and nothing more.
Accidental Love crumples under its broadness
Accidental Love crumples under its broadness
The film is without guidance, and if not supported by a stretch of talent, it could have been a career killer for its stars. As it is, Tracy Morgan, Paul Reubens, James Marsden, Kirstie Alley, and others soften the blow. Accidental Love can’t take them all down. Certainly not pseudonym-using David O. Russell. His director’s seat is well guarded.
Any glib satirical jabs which may remain effective are stretched – certainly dated by any measure. Gyllenhaal’s panicked and sexually active Howard Birdwell recalls John Edward’s fall, right at the time Accidental Love was to enter production… seven years ago. Nothing here is particularly timeless anyway. Accidental Love crumples under its broadness and closes on a pitiful reconstruction of Congress. Such scenery won’t fool anyone, and this contemptible blog-ish pandering may swing someone’s political leanings rather than aid them. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Movie]
Millennium handles encoding duties on an erratic film-based source. Grain is everywhere from low and unnoticeable to swallowing scenes whole. Compression reacts the best it can, but it’s rarely enough. Noise is dumped onto the screen in various forms. It’s chaos.
Cinematography will be of no help, shifting style at will. Focus carries no consistent touch. Sometimes even actors are incorrectly focused, as if some of these shots were pulled from unfinished material. Given Accidental Love’s messy history, this seems all too likely.
Boosted contrast and crushing blacks feel like desperation to make the feature more visually appealing. Torrid whites wash out details. Likewise, shadows are frequently pockets of lost definition.
Were there any sense of normalcy here, those moments which are well grounded appear clean. Close-ups produce excellent facial definition. While certain exteriors are rather obviously pulled from stock footage (possibly as far back as the ’90s in some cases), others perform well. The film stock is well represented where it can be. Sadly, that does not seem too often. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
Audio is cared less for than even video. While a nail gun at the start picks a specific channel while firing, the rest of the feature is dry. Sporadic moments may be a reminder the rear channels are still on, say a speech in a church or a scout camp, but the rest is rushed through without any real attention.
A few songs may hit the LFE and fidelity is fine. Accidental Love is not an active film however. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
No extras other than some trailers. [xrr rating=0/5 label=Extras]
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.