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Derailed
2005 - R - 107 min Mins.
Director: Mikael Håfström
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Written By: Stuart Beattie
Starring: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, Xzibit
Review by: Greg Ursic
Official Site: www.weinsteinco.com/derailed/
   

Come on, you can remember your line, it's not that hard...
Charles Shine’s (Clive Owen) marriage has dissolved into a spiral of endless complaining and nonstop fights. When his wife storms out of the house after yet another row, daughter Amy wryly notes “I remember when you used to kiss mom goodbye.” Mulling over the morning’s disagreements during the long commute to work, Charles meets Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston), an attractive kindred soul, who is struggling with a perpetually absent husband. The pair’s connection moves past platonic, but their extra-marital bliss suffers near-coitus interruptus when a gun wielding thug robs and assaults them. Afraid to expose his quasi dalliance, Charles resolves to forget the incident, until the past comes knocking, and puts his whole world in jeopardy.

Ask any man who has seen 'Fatal Attraction' for their opinion on one-stands and you’re sure to elicit a shiver: the film single-handedly did more to convince men to reevaluate their stance on infidelity than hundreds of years of sermonizing. Claims that 'Derailed' is “The Next Fatal Attraction” are misleading at best, as the elements in Derailed, beyond the initial adulterous yearnings, are so outside the realm of believability that there is virtually nothing for the average guy to relate to.

Bond fans around the world were devastated upon learning that Clive Owen would not be stepping into 007’s shoes, and for good reason: Owen, always the consummate actor is the very definition of suave. In spite of lackluster material (much like his role in King Arthur), in Owen’s hands Charles becomes a fully realized character who experiences the gamut of emotions. Consequently, audiences will be able to relate to him even though his “predicament” is at best, unique. The same cannot be said for Owen’s co-stars.

I was duly impressed with Jennifer Aniston when she stepped outside her comfort zone to play the quirky lead in 'The Good Girl,' a decidedly un-“Friends” like role. The same can’t be said of her performance as Lucinda: Aniston’s efforts to appear coy and cold, play out as wooden and smacks of disinterest. Moreover, when she tries to evoke emotion, there is a noted of lack passion that comes across as disingenuous. Vincent Cassel, who was outstanding as the victim of circumstance in Irreversible, is sorely lacking as Derailed’s villain: his walking stereotype tough-guy fails to intimidate, even when brandishing a pistol and literally foaming at the mouth. The writers bare much of the blame.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I go to a “thriller” I expect the director to parse out clues with a certain degree of finesse, so I have to figure out what’s going on. Any potential surprises here are ruined by reckless execution, whereby “hints” are delivered with the subtlety of a shotgun blast. Consequently, I found it painful to watch as Charles struggles to unravel the “mystery” of what is happening to him, when any savvy six year-old could have offered some clear insight into his dilemma. There are also a number of continuity errors, the most glaring of which is a poorly planted plot device near the end of the movie that makes you wonder whether they had a different working title (and if they did, who the hell forgot to tell the prop guy?) Finally, I was insulted by the insipid “mistake” that precipitates the whole series of events.

With the exception of Clive Owen’s performance, 'Derailed' suffers from uneven pacing, tangential plot points, and bad acting. In addition every “surprise” is telegraphed well beforehand – they may as well have held up a sign saying “Don’t forget about this, as it’s REALLY important!” According to the tagline "They never saw it coming." Apparently they were the only ones. I left the screening equal parts bored and annoyed – at least they managed to balance something. Don’t waste your time.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable. Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable.
  1.5 out of 5 stars

 
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