Friday, March 20, 2015

Accidental Love Review: Bandages Instead Of Bombs, Alice Eckle Goes To Washington


A kind of subversive screwball mashup of Hollywood and Occupy Wall Street, the health care crisis satire Accidental Love as co-written by Al Gore daughter Kristin Gore and based on her novel Sammy's Hill, comes off as a different inconvenient truth. When not a deliberate combo of daring and daffy.

Seven years in the making, Accidental Love faced a financial dilemma you could say concurrently rivals anyone seeking actual medical attention in this country. The comic misadventure stars Jessica Biel as Alice, a rollerskating retro-burger drive-in waitress who gets a nail stuck in her head during a construction mishap. And is denied the necessary surgery for lack of health insurance.

But at the same time, even though prone to strange, new uninhibited behavior resulting from the injury, Alice likewise experiences new thinking outside the box. And she's soon off to DC, determined to corner that corrupt contingent of officials there known as politicians. And specifically one tainted but possibly redeemable congressman, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

And where Alice's push for health care legislation and the operation she needs, is pitted against a bill destined to militarize the moon - being pushed through in a convoluted ploy involving devious Capitol Hill conspirators counting Catherine Keener, James Brolin and Pee-Wee Herman, don't ask. Tracy Morgan also turns up in an unfortunate coincidence, as Alice's friend with his own set of bad health issues.

Accidental Love has its heart in the right place, but does itself somewhat of a disservice by not trusting its audience that has been fed an infantile, unrelenting diet of Hollywood - along with the tabloid tendencies of the capitalist media, to care about serious issues up on the screen. Kind of like feeding the masses fried chicken - but hold the organic veggies for last.

The movie seems to be part of confrontational but flawed fluff in an emerging new genre that could be termed too close for comfort controversy cinema. Created by mainstream filmmakers and actors who just want to care about the world, and that recently counts The Cobbler and The Gunman as well. But whatever the shortcomings, their decent sentiments ultimately rule. And Accidental Love gets a pass for sheer outrage. Or as Reverend Norm (Kurt Fuller) declares so tellingly in the flaky finale, 'it's messy - as life often is.'

Prairie Miller

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