Directed by David O. Russell
Starring Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal & James Marsden
“Girl Scout Poop”
Review by Chris Olson
Politics and romance rarely mix well. Both are gloopy with clichés and contain caricature characters, but combined as film genres into one movie removes the point to the politics and the revelry to the romance - lob in some offbeat comedy and you have a recipe for disaster.
Such is the makeup of David O. Russell’s Pol-Rom-Com, Accidental Love, starring Jessica Biel as Alice - a small-town gal who ends up in Washington D. C. as an advocate for free emergency health care after she receives a nail into her head. Picking up her cause, and her skirt, is Howard (Jake Gyllenhaal), a buffoon of a Senator, whose political edge is as sharp as a Space Hopper and along with them are a ragtag team of underdogs, girl scouts and losers, as well as Alice’s hometown ex, Scott (James Marsden).
Chaos from beginning to end, Russell’s film never really finds firm footing, the unevenness to the plot tries to be endearingly kooky, but comes off as irritating. Whilst Alice’s struggle has some poignancy and political gusto, the themes are completely undermined by a childish script, and set pieces that make Rob Schneider films look cool. In one scene, Senator Howard is attempting to lay low from the political shit storm that Alice has created, retreating to a fire-wielding cult, where he attempts to find his core. The inane farce of this scene is hard to watch.
Given the big-hitting cast and the idea of championing free health care running through the story, it seems a shame to have misfired so badly. Political satire, when done well, can be one of the most effective and satisfying of genres, but Accidental Love takes a different approach - opting for lazy gags and shallow characters that no one really cares about.
That being said, Marsden and Gyllenhaal do elicit a few good chuckles from the audience, even if it is completely irrelevant to the story. The script fails to deliver hearty laughs or compelling drama, especially in the final third of the film which blitzes through a Mr Smith Goes To Washington style climax with little attention to detail.
Even the title of this film seems baffling! Accidental Love? It should have been called House of Shards.
Accidental Love is available to buy on DVD - Monday 20th July.
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