Accidental Love aka Nailed (2015)

(On Cable TV, February 2015) For years, rumours abounded about David O Russell’s famously abandoned film Nailed: Despite featuring known actors (Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel), an amusing premise and a decent budget, complex issues during the production of the film made it unravel before principal photography was completed. The almost-finished film languished for years, the director publicly disowning it while investors and producers tried to find a way to complete it. Many, including the director and its stars, had given up hope of seeing it (it’s even featured in the book The Greatest Movies You’ll Never See). But then, something happened and something like Nailed made it into the wild. But that something is not a successful film. Despite a few comic set pieces (a dinner opening sequence, Kirstie Alley as a living-room surgeon, an abrupt tryst that mangles presidential portraits, the Girls Scouts revealed as an incredibly powerful lobbying organization), Nailed! (or Accidental Love, as it’s known in the US) has the feel of, well, an unfinished film. Crucial narrative tissue seems missing or botched (witness the pivotal “nailing accident” scene, crudely stitched together from what looks like other bits and pieces of the film), the script never being able to tie up its loose ends. In other words, it feels exactly like a film that had to be released without the luxury of reshoots and fine-tuning. It’s certainly worth a look for fans of the main actors—Jake Gyllenhaal looks really young as a somewhat naïve congressman wearing too-big suits, while Jessica Biel is often too charming for words as a small-town waitress with a debilitating neurological problem. As a curiosity, it should satisfy film pundits who heard about the film for years without quite knowing if they’d ever see it. But Nailed is not a film that stands up on its own without the attraction of its back-story. I have a feeling that, some day, someone is going to write a tell-all article or put together a revealing documentary about the making, unmaking and remaking of this botched film, and it’s going to be far more interesting than the movie itself.

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