By Heinrich Domingo
Above its great director, promising cast, and refreshing cinematography, Accidental Love prides itself of bringing the healthcare advocacy to the fore. It satirizes US congress and its policies. It has clear and definite intention. But, intention alone cannot salvage a screenplay that is too feeble to stand. Intentions cannot transform flat lines into funny ones. Intentions cannot expound on a plot too shallow for cinema. Here is a film with the potential of being among last year’s best but turned out to be the decade’s one of the worst.
A small-town waitress (played by Jessica Biel) was accidentally shot in the head by a nail gun. Since she does not have a health insurance, she cannot afford an operation. With her friends, she travelled to Washington DC in the hope that a congressman (played Jake Gyllenhaal) would help them lobby a bill on healthcare. It is a film aiming to be a satirical comedy exposing the inefficiencies of the American legislative body.
It is an utter disbelief that director David O. Russell known for films like Silver Linings Playbook (2012), American Hustle (2013), and Joy (2015) has the capacity to create a crappy movie like this. He could have predicted the doom of a film made with a sloppy sequence of events and a plot with nowhere to go. Before the filming ended, Russell decided to denounce this movie and use an alias that raises the white flag.
Of course, Biel and Gyllenhaal’s brilliance in acting is out of question. They were able to portray two eccentric characters with irrational behaviors. Yet, their unnecessarily exaggerated movements contributed in many awkward scenes. Even Tracy Morgan’s naturally humorous personality did not work out. Watching the cast is simply too nerve-wracking for the crowd.
Accidental Love’s flop mainly comes from a flawed plot. While the intention of the story is clear, its execution confuses the audience. From the unrealistic lines to irrational turn of events, the film tries too hard to be funny. The result is an amateurish compilation of video clips not even worthy to be called as a movie.
It is true that pulling off a satirical piece in any medium is difficult. But once done properly, humor is a remarkable venue of forwarding relevant and integral causes and advocacies. Accidental Love might not be your priority pick of movies to watch this weekend but its failure leaves a lot of lessons to the cinema industry. It is a reminder that the film reel is rolling. There is an equal chance for newbie filmmakers to create good films and for accomplished filmmakers to create cinematic flops.