The only thing harder to believe than someone falling for so obvious a ruse is for that same someone to have any chance of getting even for it.
Charles Schine (Clive Owen) plays an “everyman” with a very full life. With a daughter with Type I diabetes, a wife who works full time, and the normal daily stresses of work, Charles starts to loose sight of the ball and lets his eyes wander. Enter Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston) at just the right time and in just the right circumstances, suddenly creating the newness Charles thinks will put his life on track. But on the eve of their affair’s consummation, things take a very sharp turn for the worse, and a rogue named LaRoche (Vincent Cassel) decides to make Charles his personal banker unless he wants the entire world to know what he almost did.
The plot of Derailed hinges on a few key scenes that either sell the film or bury it, and that usually depends on how many of these kinds of drama-thrillers you’ve scene. For myself, the hole it kept digging got deeper and deeper. Without revealing too much of the twists and turns for those still interested, let’s be honest; what are the chances of meeting an incredibly beautiful woman in just the right place at just the right time that only seems interested in you? As any male of the human species can tell you, always listen to the robot swinging its arms wildly shrieking, “Danger! Danger!”
Of course, there would be no plot if the hero didn’t take the bait, so off they go. The rest of the story counts on the audience becoming involved with the affair and then its potential repercussions. And let it be known here that, if you really want to see the affects of an affair on Clive Owen, watch Closer and try not to flinch at his every word to Julia Roberts. Compared to that character, it seems to take forever to motivate Charles into any kind of action, and by the time it happens, the potential drama takes a backseat to the unlikely thriller… twice.
Jennifer Aniston makes a go of material, still not showing any of the true talent which surfaced in her Indie film The Good Girl (or The Iron Giant, for that matter). If she and Clive Owen could have even made a passing chemical attraction form between them, that would have been something to watch, but instead the plot seemed determined to throw out the drama and fall back on the pointless thriller. Seriously, what’s the point of threatening the lives of characters no one cares about? Sadly, Derailed has no answer for that question except to remain aptly named for what will likely happen to it at the box office.
(a one skull recommendation out of four)