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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Happy Accidents
Happy Accidents
MGM // R // December 17, 2002
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 18, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Brad Anderson is one of the more promising independent directors working today. While the director's films still haven't met with much success, "Next Stop, Wonderland" was a fun romantic comedy and "Session 9" managed to be a fairly scary thriller. "Happy Accidents", a film that seems to have built up a cult following, combines both romantic comedy and elements of sci-fi.

Marisa Tomei stars as Ruby, a young woman who has found herself dating flawed guys, one of the facts she discusses with her therapist in weakly sessions. The film is the story of how Ruby meets Sam (Vincent D'Onofrio), a guy who seems fairly normal and kind, with one rather noticable exception: he tells her that he has travelled back through time (from 2470) to fall for her (she senses something different about him and her first question is, "are you from the Midwest?"). She senses something odd about him, but he surprises and charms her until she finds herself falling for him - until he reveals his true past - or is he telling the truth?

Viewed purely as a romantic comedy, "Happy Accidents" works because of the two leads. D'Onofrio and Tomei make a nice couple and have enjoyable chemistry here. The sci-fi elements are added in quite nicely for a fairly low-budget movie; it's not as much about sci-fi and Sam being a time-traveller (or a possible nutcase), but the two trying to accept their situation - can she still find the love that she felt? While Ruby will obviously find out at one point or another, the movie still manages to head off in unexpected directions afterwards.

The performances and tone of the film support the off-beat plot fairly well, with Tomei and D'Onofrio buying into the story and characters completely. The cinematography has a nice low-key polish, too, sporting a natural, cool look (not to mention some nice New York City locations). Still, there are some flaws with Anderson's picture. As cute and romantic and enjoyable as the interesting mix of genres often are, this film does go longer than it should at 110 minutes, when 90-95 probably would have served the pace much better. There's also a point where the question of whether or not the D'Onofrio character is sane or insane gets a bit repetitive, as the point doesn't arrive quick enough.

Still, the film stands out as an original in a fairly tired genre. Not only is the romance between the two leads nicely played, but there's some funny moments, clever theories and convincing moments of emotion. A little repetitive and a bit long, but "Happy Accidents" is an interesting and unusual effort that I generally liked.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Happy Accidents" is presented by MGM in both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame. Both have their own side of this dual-sided, single-layer disc. This isn't a presentation without some minor faults, but when it looks its best, the image quality is stellar. Sharpness and detail are superb, especially during the brighter outdoor sequences.

Where the presentation occasionally heads into trouble is in some of the darker scenes in the picture, where some fairly noticable artifacts occasionally appear. Aside from that fault, there's really not much else to complain about: there's the occasional speck or mark on the print, but no edge enhancement.

The film's natural color palette looked pretty well-reproduced here. Aside from some richer reds and other colors that seemed slightly smeary, the film's colors looked crisp. Black level looked solid, while flesh tones appeared accurate and natural. Not perfect, but a pretty nice transfer.

SOUND: The film comes with a simple 2.0 soundtrack, which clearly offers both dialogue and score.

EXTRAS: The DVD's only supplement is a commentary from director Brad Anderson and actor Vincent D'Onofrio.

Final Thoughts: Those seeking an off-beat romantic comedy should take a look at "Happy Accidents" as a rental. While a little slow at times, it's still an engaging film that merges a few genres with respectable success. MGM's DVD presents the film with good audio/video quality, along with a few extras. Recommended for fans, while those who haven't seen it should rent first.

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