Movie Review: Happy Accidents (2000)

Happy Accidents
Since we recently purchased a new TiVo, it’s time to watch all the stuff that’s been collecting on the old one. This movie had been sitting there for some time. The Mrs. didn’t seem too interested in this one (The description really didn’t sound too promising), but I insisted that we had seen a clip from it and had both wanted to see it some time back (the scene I remembered was in the movie, so I wasn’t just making it up).

Anyhow, earlier tonight we finally sat down and pressed play. This movie is a little hard to explain. It’s a Dramatic Romantic Comedy with hint of Sci-Fi tossed in.

Ruby Weaver (Marisa Tomei) has had a string of bad relationships. The film opens with her telling her therapist about the latest one. After running into a man in the park, she can’t get him out of her head. Luckily, he’s waiting outside her house to return a book she left behind.

Sam Deed (Vincent D’Onofrio) is a little different. He’s not from the New York, and he reacts to everyday things with childlike wonder (or fear, in the case of small dogs). Eventually he explains all this by pointing out that he comes from 400 years in the future.

A good part of the movie is spent watching Ruby and Sam fall in love, while Ruby wonders what the real story is. I found myself fluctuating between knowing Sam was nuts, to wanting believing his story. Just when you’re sure you’ve got it figured out there’s a subtle hint that steers you back in the other direction. Overall it was a really good story that kept me involved the entire time.

The actors really made this film work. The emotional range these two characters go through, as well as the chemistry between the two of them was impressive. Marisa Tomei is good in most everything I’ve seen her in, so that was no suprise. Vincent D’Onofrio did an amazing job as Sam. No matter what I thought about his story, I always felt that Sam believed it to be true (something that Ruby didn’t see). Of the films I’ve seen him in, this was his best role since playing Robert E. Howard in The Whole Wide World

My first words when the credits rolled were, “That was excellent.” My wife’s were, “That was a lot better than I had expected.” That about sums it up.

The film also scored extra points with me for the repeated semi-obscure Doctor Who reference.