Accidental Love, film review: Clumsy, horribly uneven and already feels very dated

(15) David O Russell, 100 mins. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, James Marsden
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Shot way back in 2008, caught up in the wrangling and law cases involving troubled film financier David Bergstein, shut down several times during production and disowned by its own director, Accidental Love (aka Nailed), finally limps into British cinemas. We can still see traces of what David O Russell and his screenwriter Kristin Gore (daughter of former Vice President Al) were trying to achieve. The aim was for a Frank Capra-style screwball comedy that made some trenchant points about Washington politics and US heathcare provision.

The film is clumsy, horribly uneven and already feels very dated – it was made before ObamaCare – but there is a lively and likeable performance from Jessica Biel as a roller-skating small-town waitress who loses her inhibitions and starts speaking foreign languages after a freak accident causes a nail to be lodged in her head.

She troops off to DC to fight for the rights of the "bizarrely injured". There, she runs into the ruthless power broker (Catherine Keener with very big hair) who wants to put Americans back on the Moon, and meets a sweet-natured but ineffectual congressman (Gyllenhaal), who may be persuaded to fight for her cause. For this kind of comedy to work, absolute precision and relentless speed are essential. Given the circumstances in which the was made, it is little surprise that neither are achieved.

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