Happy Accidents

"OK"

Happy Accidents Review


Recovering co-dependent Ruby Weaver has such bad luck with men that she and her girlfriends keep a shoebox of photos called "The Ex Files."

In the beginning of "Happy Accidents," writer-director Brad Anderson ("Next Stop Wonderland," "Session 9") shows us a comical montage of progressively eccentric examples: The Bad Actor, the Artist, the Fetishist, the Frenchman, the Junkie and the Abductee, who thought he'd been kidnapped by aliens.

Ruby (Marisa Tomei in an amusingly harried performance) hopes she's seen the worst of this trend and is, with the help of her intrusive therapist (the wonderfully wry Holland Taylor), beginning to curb her pathological urge to try to fix men that are beyond repair.

Then she meets Sam (Vincent D'Onofrio), a sweetly romantic, utterly awkward oddball, and a fixer-upper of an entirely different kind -- he claims, with complete sincerity, to be from the distant future.

Sam doesn't tell her this right away, of course. But after noting that many everyday things seem foreign to him -- he doesn't how to work a record player, he's absolutely terrified of small dogs -- and wondering about his bar-code tattoo, Ruby starts asking pointed questions. She's determined to weed out why this guy is so weird before she finds herself in love with another delusional loser. (Co-dependent that she is, Ruby has already let him move into her apartment.)

As evidenced in "Next Stop Wonderland," Anderson has a knack for nailing both the inner sweetness and the outer cynicism of his amour-impaired heroines. He also understands how to lend a strange magnetism to a man like Sam, a whacko that any sensible woman would run away from as fast as she could. Sam is bizarrely but endearingly out of sync with the world (D'Onofrio's performance strikes a deft balance), and while what Ruby sees in this guy isn't entirely clear, you still feel the attraction.

But "Happy Accidents" does have a near-fatal flaw: It's so enamoured of its quirky charm that it lets its sci-fi-like elements grow distractingly and annoyingly implausible. Sam's futuristic claims may intentionally lack cohesion and credibility to nudge the audience toward believing that he's nuts -- even though we see him succumb to spells during which time runs backwards, a kind of hangover from "back-traveling" he says.

If that's the case, however, Anderson takes it too far, unintentionally inviting the audience to nit-pick everything Sam says about the future and his purpose in the present (to save Ruby's life after falling in love with her picture). Doing so uncovers dozens of glaring logical rifts, even in the fantastical claims we're supposed to believe.

The film's structure is also noticeably unsound, from the therapy session narration (the shrink would have already known most of what Ruby says in voice-over) to the undercooked and gimmicky crutch the story uses to limp to its full-circle finale. It's pretty clear Anderson was more interested in the love story than in the picture's science fiction merits.

"Happy Accidents" has a sense of humor and a good-natured warmth -- stemming mostly from the appealingly peculiar performances -- that make its shortcomings easier to forgive. But those shortcomings might never have been if Anderson had taken another pass at the script from an analytical, instead of a romantic, point of view.



Happy Accidents

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 12th September 2001

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: Independent Film Channel

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Sam Deed, as Ruby Weaver, as Gretchen, as Therapist, Maggie Ann "Meg" Ford, as Lillian Weaver, as Mark, as Victor, Sanjay Chandani as Sunil, as Bette, as Robin

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.