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Overall Rating
3.89

Awesome: 18.18%
Worth A Look52.27%
Average: 29.55%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 20 user ratings


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Happy Accidents
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by Thom

"Dark and engrossing psychological romance"
4 stars

Sam Deed (Vincent D'Onofrio) says he's a backtraveler from the year 2470. Ruby (Marisa Tomei) is a freak magnet. Her boyfriends have needed someone to play a role for them more than be a partner in the chaos of life and she plays those roles to the point of exhaustion until their picture ends up in the "Ex-Files". In spite of her therapist, she finds herself drawn to Sam. Sam is compassionate, works in a hospice, sensitive, intelligent and attentive. He's a dream. Ruby's friend figures that as long as the sex is good, she may as well just play along with the fantasy.

Ruby admits she likes the game but Sam keeps trying to tell her that it isn't a game. Sam's behavior becomes increasingly bizarre and the more Ruby tries to pull away, the more she gets entangled. The things he says can't be proved wrong and even as he explains to her how he acquired personal artifacts like family photos and how time travel is possible (in a particularly erotic way), underneath it all he is fiercely devoted to Ruby. She goes along with his schemes to "break the causal chain" because she thinks that her participation in his psychosis may somehow heal him. Sam's psychic co-worker tells Ruby that she has nothing to worry about. There is nothing wrong with him. His love for her is the love she craves and she keeps up the charade to keep the love until it goes to far and the truth about Sam Deed is revealed.

Happy Accidents is completely a science fiction film and a romance. The film is set in contemporary Manhattan and the sci-fi element is all in the telling. In the future, many plant and animal species are extinct, there had been a second ice-age and time travel, once common, is banned by a society comprised mostly of "corporate sponsored gene-dupes". Sam's parents were biologicals and anachronists. They lived on reservations and used time traveler to satisfy their illicit nostalgia. Sam's parents were the radicals of his time. Or, they will be the radicals of their time when their time comes. This future history of Earth is at least a hopeful one. Humans, real humans, somehow survive two periods of global desolation. They still haven't figured out the meaning of live and love and desire keep prodding people along as it always has.

Time travel and clones aren't particularly original and biological humans on reservations in a future controlled by clones is basically Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. While the science-fiction is a nice diversion from your standard romantic fare, it's the romance itself that is intriguing. Ruby's track record with freaks and fetishists has shaken her faith in herself. When Sam comes along, she follows her normal pattern but feels Sam is different. Sam really loves her but Sam has episodes where he falls into trances, and mutters incoherently in his sleep and the story of his life is so ludicrous that she's sure he must be hiding something.

All the evidence points to Sam being psychotic, but she's not so sure. He's got an answer for everything. His story doesn't go in circles, it adds up if you accept the basic premise. Ruby has to proceed on faith alone. In a Christ-like moment, Sam asks her to have faith in him, to believe that he is who he says and to trust him and do as he says and she will find salvation from her crappy relationships and the receive reward of true love. That's asking a lot. Ruby's been burned bad. She is vulnerable and afraid of herself. She doesn't trust herself to make the right decisions and figures the safest route is to do exactly what her therapist tells her to do. She finds strength in her pain and keeps going because something tells her that this relationship is right. Would it be so bad to be with a deluded psychotic if he loved you?

From Sam's point of view, he believes what he tells Ruby. He is driven by his love for her and his desire to save her. But he is operating in the shadows because there is no way for Ruby to know for sure and he can't show her for sure unless she does what he asks. Sam and Ruby are going to be miserable without each other, now that they both found who they believe to be the one, but there may be even more trouble for them if they stay together.

There is a hilarious cameo by Anthony Micheal Hall, playing himself. His cameo is the punchline of a joke that is told earlier in the film. Sam is not really up on his current events so he thinks he's just talking to some guy while Gretchen tries to impress upon him that he's talking to "Anthony Michael Hall, you know, from Sixteen Candles...". Sam stares blankly at Hall and he says, "This is New York, nobody cares, right?". Hall thinks Sam is doing improv and when one of the party tells Sam that time travel is impossible, Hall reminds him about the number one rule of improv, "don't deny an action". Hall, who is starring in the upcoming VH1 original, The Def Leppard Story, is talking about being on the set with John Hughes. Fifteen years later, everyone wants to rehash his old days as if nothing he is doing now is relevant, or he has nothing else to talk about except his career of fifteen years prior. Rock on.

Dark and engrossing with hip, urban characters who are trying to make sense of life and find love in Gallery Openings and Bars while staying one step ahead of Prozac. Happy Accidents keeps the line between reality and fantasy as blurred as it would be in the mind of a psychotic and the audience must, along with Ruby, decide what to believe. There is never a slow moment. D'Onofrio flexes his considerable muscle for digging into a role. He's one of those actors who really gets off on exploring the edges of sanity and creativity in his roles. Tomei plays a great emotional wreck.

Sam and Ruby both have taken an emotional beating and while trying to help each other heal, they inadvertently become each other's punching bag because they both so much want to not make that big mistake all over again. Ruby has shuffled off the responsibility for her choices on everyone but herself. When everyone points her in a different direction, she ultimately has to trust herself to make the right decision at a point in her life when she isn't sure which way is up. This raises the stakes for her own happiness. She is either going to win the lottery of love or be irreparably devastated. Sam is in the same position. .

If the universe isn't going to make their love happen, they will just have to change the universe. These two people are betting their lives on each other

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3910&reviewer=67
originally posted: 07/27/01 15:33:07
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User Comments

2/05/13 PAUL SHORTT CHARMING, TOUCHING LOVE STORY 3 stars
4/29/04 pete sanches 5 stars
4/21/04 The More You Know reminds me of MP's Galaxy Song, it gives you more than you might expect. 4 stars
4/12/04 Glad Tomei's "anger fits" are a scream! You have to love this woman! 4 stars
4/11/04 WahooWAC Entertaining, thought provoking, the lead actors are great. What else are you looking for? 4 stars
3/21/04 Jane very good 4 stars
3/18/04 kathy m great movie ,similar to kpax, leaves you wondering 4 stars
12/20/03 Thomas John Weird but starngely interesting.. 4 stars
12/20/03 Marty Lazlow Fanatastic and unique viewpoint on insanity and the study of time travel. 4 stars
12/09/03 Bill Roberts A Very Intelligent, Enjoyable File 5 stars
5/15/03 George Jung This movie is fucking amazing. The best love story of the last 10 years. 5 stars
5/08/03 y2mckay D'Onofrio is fantastic, Tomei still sexy as hell, Clever and very funny story. 4 stars
3/11/03 Alan Rothe I loved the two leads and thought the whole whacky quirky thing was a lot of fun! 4 stars
2/18/03 Chip Moon I loved this film. Vincent and Marissa together are brilliant! This movie is refreshing! 5 stars
2/02/02 alan dones I liked it! Will buy the video when/if it comes out!! 5 stars
10/29/01 Thor-Leo Very enjoyable. What "K-PAX" should have been. 4 stars
10/08/01 Mark Davidson This film gets major points for creativity -- blending romantic comedy with science fiction 4 stars
9/25/01 Rich Great film, still jealous Vincent got to rub Marissa's thighs. Does she age? 5 stars
9/23/01 Patrick Great film. 5 stars
8/28/01 Jim Dodd good film 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Aug-2001

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