Netflix Review: Accidental Love

In recent years David O Russell has become one of Hollywood’s most celebrated directors, having The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle to his name. But there was one movie that was his embarrassing secret that he hoped would never see the light of day – his political satire Nailed that was abandoned because of a lack of funds. But a producer has assembled a cut without Russell’s involvement and it is every bit as bad as you may have heard.

Alice Eckle (Jessica Biel) is a roller-skater witness who is engaged to Scott (James Marsden), a cop and colossal douchebag. But during the proposal Alice ends up getting a nail shot into her brain and because she does not have any insurance cannot have it removed – leaving her suffering bloats of anger, an uncontrollable libido and the ability to speak Portuguese at random intervals. After Scott breaks the engagement Alice, with a couple other medical misfits, goes to Washington to lobby for healthcare reform, but ends up getting sucked into the world of political double-dealing and backstabbing.
accidental love still
Accidental Love really is a marvel of a movie, it was cobbled together from what footage was already filmed against the wishes of Russell and by forcing some reshoots getting some of the actors to return because of contractual obligation. It is also a marvel because for a movie with so many talented people involved it turned out to be so awful. Even if we discount post-production elements like editing and the musical score, Accidental Love is still a terrible farce, masking itself as a political satire. The message is clear, the US government is more interested in spending money on pointless military projects then on social and domestic issues – the Moon Base was a commentary on George W. Bush’s Son of Star Wars mission program and how the Republicans used the politics of security and fear to force through their policies while labelling anyone interested in social issues as a socialist.

Accidental Love was not just a filmmaking farce, it was a comedic farce. Russell and his writers aimed low and broad with its humor. Jokes include Alice constantly getting hit in the head, having militant group of girl scouts, and one character having an embarrassing death. It was painfully staged and the actors looked embarrassed by some of the actions they had to do and it is amazing how terrible some of the actor’s performances were. Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener and James Brolin are all talented yet in this case they acted like they are in a bad improv group. It is cringe worthy seeing these actors having to embarrass themselves in such a way.

The film comes across being an R-rated movie edited down to a PG-13. One of the big gags was a priest having a permanent erection and it was clear we were meant to see it, but the image was either cut out or never filmed. It is a joke even more unconformable when he is campaigning with a group of pre-pubescent girls. As both a political satire and general comedy Accidental Love is a failure. The only joke I found slightly funny is a political attack ad against group of girl scouts which is very close to how real American political ads look.
accidental love - jessica biel
If you are interested in politics you can get something from the political commentary about healthcare and the military-industrial complex: even if the passing of The Affordable Healthcare Act made the satire outdated. The rest of the humor was a cartoony affair, having a drunk vet trying to remove the nail herself, the doctors and nurses at the ER being relieved that they did not have to perform surgery and celebrated by eating burgers and getting to see weird ritual involving fire and naked men. The editing is trying to make the comedy as mainstream as possible but all it is painfully unfunny.


Accidental Love should have reminded on the shelf, a movie that its stars will want us to ignore it exists and Russell will want it to remain his secret shame.

Kieran Freemantle
Kieran Freemantle
I am a film critic/writer based in the UK, writing for Entertainment Fuse, Rock n Reel Reviews, UK Film Review and Meniscus Sunrise. I have worked on film shoots. I support West Ham and Bath Rugby. Follow me on Twitter @FreemantleUK.