Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David O. Russell (as Stephen Greene)|
|Based on||Sammy's Hill|
by Kristin Gore
|Music by||John Swihart|
|Distributed by||Millennium Entertainment|
Accidental Love is a 2015 American romantic comedy film directed by David O. Russell (under a pseudonym) and written by Russell, Kristin Gore, Dave Jeser, and Matt Silverstein, from Gore's novel Sammy's Hill. The film stars Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, James Marsden, Tracy Morgan and James Brolin.
Production started in 2008 under the title Nailed, but filming was frequently halted due to financial difficulties, leading to Russell quitting the project in 2010. The film was completed without his involvement and Russell has since disowned it, leaving the finished product credited to "Stephen Greene". The film was released online on February 10, 2015, before a limited release on March 20, 2015 by Millennium Entertainment.Accidental Love was panned by critics.
Alice, a small-town waitress, is accidentally shot in the head by a nail gun. Her lack of health insurance renders her unable to have the nail removed, leading to mood swings and hypersexual behavior as a result of brain damage. Alice then heads to Washington, DC to campaign for those with bizarre injuries, with the support of an unprincipled Congressman.
Red Wagon Productions' Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher first developed the property, hiring Kristin Gore--daughter of Al Gore--to adapt the screenplay based on her 2004 novel Sammy's Hill. In 2008, Russell was named the director of the film, then titled Nailed. Russell, Wick, and Fisher were reportedly promised a budget of $26 million by Capitol Films, a production company led by then-Hollywood newcomer David Bergstein.Principal photography began in April 2008. That month, James Caan dropped out of the film, after "creative differences" over his character's death scene. Production was shut down frequently--as many as 14 times--for nonpayment of the cast and crew, leading to walk-outs by stars Biel and Gyllenhaal as well as several crew members. Bergstein attributed the film's financial woes to the 2008 financial collapse, but the filmmakers believed they were being "intentionally squeezed." In a dispute over control of the film, and to prevent the possibility of Capitol releasing an unpolished version of the film, Wick and Fisher decided to withhold film negatives and postpone shooting the crucial sequence in which Biel's character is injured with a nail gun until the final day of filming. As a result of one of the unions pulling support for the film with only two days left to shoot, the sequence was not shot and the film was left incomplete.
In early 2010, the film's financier, Ronald Tutor, who controlled the film's rights along with Bergstein, paid millions of dollars to get several films, including Nailed, out of a foreclosure action. Bergstein hired an editor to assemble a cut of the film that was shown to Russell when he was asked to return and film reshoots. Russell and Tutor were unable to strike a deal and Russell permanently left the production in July. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Russell's primary grievance was Wick and Fisher being pushed to accept 50% pay cuts. The producers, who also left the film, called the requested concessions "unfair, unprofessional and detrimental to the movie." Russell said of quitting the film: "This has been a painful process for me. The multiple production delays and stoppages, which were caused by David Bergstein and preceded Ron Tutor's direct involvement with me, have now spanned two years, and the circumstances under which the film would now be completed are much different on several fundamental levels than when we embarked several years ago. I, unfortunately, am no longer involved in the project and cannot call it 'my' film. I wish Ron Tutor well." Contractual agreements required Biel and Tracy Morgan to film reshoots, which did not involve Russell.
Capitol Productions went bankrupt in 2010 and the property was purchased in 2014 by independent distributor Millennium Entertainment for an undisclosed sum. Retitled Accidental Love, a cut was assembled under producer Kia Jam, a former executive with Capitol, who said, "People are expecting to see a broken film, and it's not. We tried very much to be respectful of the creative forces behind it." With the film set to be released, Russell negotiated with the Directors Guild of America to remove his name from the film; he is credited for his roles as director and co-writer as "Stephen Greene," an alternative to the former official pseudonym, Alan Smithee, used by directors wishing to disown a film.
In March 2011, an unfinished cut of the film was screened in Los Angeles. The film was released on VOD on February 10, 2015. The film was released in a limited release on March 20, 2015 bringing in a low gross of $4,500. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on April 28, 2015.
Following a home video release by Mongrel Media in Canada, A.A. Dowd, film critic with The A.V. Club, accused the company of quoting his review out of context, making a negative film review look like a positive one. In response to the accusation, Mongrel Media issued an apology and claimed they would remove the quote from further prints of the DVD.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 9% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 3.32/10. On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 20 out of 100, based on reviews from 13 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club wrote: "To be fair to whoever refashioned Accidental Love from the abandoned scraps of Nailed, there's little reason to believe that the ideal, untroubled version of the material would have been a comedic masterstroke."Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "The satire is broad and forced and unfunny, there's no cadence to the setups and visual punch lines, and the likable cast is hopelessly lost. Some disasters should remain forgotten."