The public’s fascination with art world fakes is sorely abused by scripter-helmer Vanna Paoli’s amateurish mystery, “The Accidental Detective.” Shot in 2000 with an international cast, unatmospheric pic has little to attract either art lovers or sleuthing fans. Its only foreseeable offshore future lies on small screens.
The settlement of a wealthy collector’s estate is held up when it’s discovered the deceased purchased a palace in Florence. Inexperienced lawyer David Bailey (David Kriegel) is sent to investigate and learns that a long-lost Botticelli may be hidden within the palace walls. Predictably, he falls in love with Dianora (Cristina Moglia), daughter of resident Countess Mazzi Tinghi (Sarah Miles, somnolent). Script keeps the audience guessing whether said painting is real or fake, but denouement is as unexciting as the opening of Al Capone’s safe. As the lead, Yank thesp Kriegel lacks charisma, and supporting roles are poorly acted. Only the up-and-coming Moglia succeeds in appearing natural, but there’s not much for her to work with here. Shot in English but released locally in dubbed Italian, widescreen pic even makes Florence look bland.