Accidental Love is a comedy I was drawn to given the presence of the always-reliable Jake Gyllenhaal and the very athletic Mrs Timberlake, aka Jessica Biel.
The latter stars as Alice, a waitress who ends up on the receiving end of a nailgun’s output after an accident while her fiancee-to-be, Scott (James Marsden), is in the process of asking her the question which will make him her fiancee. Since she can’t afford to have an operation, and a “Get The Nail Out Fun-Raiser” proving less than fruitful, Gyllenhaal comes into the proceedings as congressman Howard Birdwell, who promises her a new healthcare bill to cover her medical costs in return for helping promote his new Moonbase project.
And this is indicative of the problems which follow. What starts off as an engaging comedy soon disappears as quickly as Marsden’s character does when Alice spends all her time with Howard and the script diverges – or rather falls off a cliff, introducing tertiary characters and script points with little or no relevance, with it also descending into farce and other directions which make no sense.
Director David O Russell, best known recently for American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, has put his name to the project, but as Stephen Greene, which seems like the new Alan Smithee. After all, if he was proud of the film, why wouldn’t he put his own name to it? As it turned out, this movie has had a chequered history. It was originally due to be called “Nailed“, back in 2008, which would’ve made more sense than the twee and non-descript “Accidental Love”, but financial issues brought production to a halt. Russell them quit the project in 2010 and the film was eventually put together without him being involved, hence him disowning it with the name change.
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and in anamorphic widescreen, and the picture is fine, but when you’re normally used to Blu-rays, DVDs look a little soft by comparison, especially on a 50″ plasma screen. The sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1, but rarely gets a chance to do anything out of the ordinary as it’s a comedy with little troubling the rear speakers.
There are only a mere 12 chapters, there are no subtitles and the only extra is a Behind The Scenes (20:32) which mixes in clips from the film, and on-set footage, with chat from a number of cast members in a series of brief interviews – Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Marsden, Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman), Catherine Keener and Tracy Morgan. I’d like to have heard most from Gyllenhaal, but sadly his segment is all too brief at around 45 seconds! Also, oddly, it’s been filmed in a sort-of 15:9 ratio but slightly stretched, so it doesn’t look right on a 16:9 screen or if ‘unstretch; it to set the TV to output a 4:3 central image, as with that, there’s a slight anamorphic squeeze.
The main menu features clips from the film set to a piece of music which isn’t even from the film – it’s just a generic piece by Webmusic called Song Favourites . That link is for over eight minutes of various pieces, but the one on the DVD is at the very start. What’s all that about??
In addition, us in the UK get short-changed as the US get both a Blu-ray and DVD release, whereas we get only DVD.
Accidental Love is released on Monday July 20th on DVD and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
Running time: 96 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: July 20th 2015
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 1.85:1 Anamorphic widescreen
Disc Format: DVD9
Director: David O Russell (as Stephen Greene)
Producers: Kia Jam, Judd Payne and Matthew Rhodes
Screenplay: Kristin Gore, Matthew Silverstein and Dave Jeser (based on the novel “Sammy’s Hill” by Kristin Gore)
Music: John Swihart
Alice Eckle: Jessica Biel
Howard Birdwell: Jake Gyllenhaal
Scott: James Marsden
Reverend Norm: Kurt Fuller
Keyshawn: Tracy Morgan
Rakeesha: Malinda Williams
Speaker of the House Buck McCoy: James Brolin
Aunt Rita: Kirstie Alley
Helen Eckle: Beverly D’Angelo
Bob Eckle: Steve Boles
Rep. Pam Hendrickson: Catherine Keener
Edwin: Paul Reubens
Doctor Turnstall: Bill Hader
McCoy’s Widow: Barbara Weetman
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.