Believe it or not, there was a time when “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle” director David O. Russell wasn’t a King Midas of ramshackle warmhearted dramedies starring Amy Adams and/or J-Law/BCoop. In fact, he was quite unpopular, even infamous. It seemed “I Heart Huckabees” — his all-star “existential detective” comedy — had destroyed a promisingly eccentric career. Not only did it underperformed but it wreaked a leaked video of him flipping out his stuff on star Lily Tomlin.
But then he suddenly reemerged in 2010 with “The Fighter,” and that, as they say, is history. But in between he had another boondoggle: He directed — or attempted to, anyway — “Nailed,” a health care satire starring Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal and many more, from a script by Al Gore’s daughter, Kristen, who also used to write for “Futurama.”
That proved even more cursed than “Three Kings,” on which Russell alienated star George Clooney to the point where the actor said he’d never work with him again. There were shady financiers, and production was shut down four times. Russell thought he was smart by not shooting the big climax till the end, that way ensuring the moneypeople couldn’t pull the plug. They did anyway, and the project disappeared into infamy — even as its director pulled a career 180.
And now suddenly, out of nowhere, “Nailed” is back, but now with a much more barfable title. It’s now called “Accidental Love,” which is far more likely to jump out at you on VOD, no? Russell had nothing to do with the reshoots, including, presumably, the very ending of the film. Instead it’s credited to one “Stephen Greene,” whose name doesn’t so easily come up on Internet Movie Database searches.
If this is a pseudonym — and in all likelihood it is — then it’s not a very good one. If he was ambitious he would have thought like David Lynch. He had his name removed from the screenplay credit to the extended TV cut of “Dune,” and replaced with the very subtle “Judas Booth.” How about “Benedict Arnold-Hinkley Jr.”? Or “Backstabby McJerkwad”? Think bigger!