Accidental Love

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Accidental Love Movie Poster Image
Dark comedy about brain injury falls flat; some sexy stuff.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 100 minutes

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Kids say

age 13+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Honesty will always prevail over deception, and people who lie will be exposed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alice is the victim of an unfortunate accident and is distressed to learn there's no system in place to help her. Taking matters into her own hands, she tries to right the wrong and won't take no for an answer. That kind of determination will always help you get what you need.


Two men get into a brief scuffle. A men's group ritual involves a duel with flaming torches. The film starts with a mishap involving a nail gun.


One sex scene, played partly for laughs, has plenty of noises and brief glimpses of hands or feet reaching into the frame -- the rest of the participants' bodies are off screen. A man and woman are seen briefly in their underwear. A woman talks about her sex life, with a few private details. Innuendo. Birth control (condom) is shown on screen.


Strong language includes "bitch," "s--t," "d--k," "whore," "ass," "crap," and "screwed." A young girl says she wants to "f--k s--t up."


A Trojan condom gets some prime screen time at a key moment.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink while relaxing and socializing.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Accidental Love is a black comedy that exposes the not-so-noble inner workings of Washington, while focusing on a waitress who's the victim of an unfortunate industrial accident involving a nail gun. There's a good bit of swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k," sometimes spoken by a young girl) and some not-so-subtle sexual innuendo, as well as one sex scene that's over the top and played for humor. Nothing graphic is shown, but there are plenty of noises. A condom is seen on screen. There's a little fighting, characters duel with flaming torches, and there's some social drinking.

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What's the story?

Alice (Jessica Biel), an Indiana waitress, faces one of the most exciting moments of her life: a marriage proposal from her hunky boyfriend, Scott (James Marsden). But an accident with a nail gun changes the course of her life, leaving one of its projectiles embedded in her brain. It causes all kinds of mood swings, but since Alice doesn't have any health insurance, she can't get a doctor to help. Her only chance is to go to Washington, where her congressman (Jake Gyllenhaal) has promised his constituents that they can ask him for assistance with anything -- including, perhaps, a health care bill that just might cover preexisting nail gun accidents and other unexpected mishaps?

Is it any good?

ACCIDENTAL LOVE is stylized and over the top, with an eye toward mining laughs from the sheer absurdity of its central situation. Done right, films like these can be hilarious, but when they're not, they come across as tin-eared and woefully fatiguing. Unfortunately, Accidental Love falls into the latter category. The movie was directed by David O. Russell but credited to "Stephen Greene" after Russell decided to remove his name from the film.

Gyllenhaal is game, but the way he plays his character with so much manic energy and so little awareness is perplexing. Biel is supposed to go from one extreme to another, courtesy of the nail that affects different parts of her brain, but she plays it all on the same continuum: sweet, wholesome, uninteresting. The story has promise, but the execution falls flatter than the proverbial pancake. Bottom line? The world is still waiting for the great comedy about nail injuries, health insurance and politics.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie depicts sex. Much of the sexual content is played for humor -- what message does that send? Parents, talk to your teens about your own relationships regarding sex and relationships.

  • What do you think about the way the film portrays Washington? Are politics really driven by trading favors?

  • Why do you think men don't stand by Alice, at least at first? What makes them change their mind? Do the relationships in the movie feel realistic?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love offbeat movies

Themes & Topics

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