Changing Lanes


Director: Roger Michell

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Ben Affleck as a young attorney on the way up is only about half as annoying as usual when he acts, while Samuel Jackson as the depressed hotheaded guy whose wife has quite rightly left him is extremely good in his badly written role.

Changing LanesThese two men have an accident on the highway, neither of them hurt, but Affleck drives off in a hurry because he has an important meeting & cares about no one but himself, stranding Jackson whose car won't run. In consquence Jackson is late for a court date & has no input for the judge's decisions which unhappily impacts his child visitation.

Affleck in the meantime finds out he doesn't have an important signed document & this puts his entire career on the line, since that document is the only thing that will allow his firm to legally steal millions from a client. When Jackson discovers this paper got shuffled into his own court documents at the accident, he uses it to get even with Affleck who he blames for the child visitation problem.

Affleck goes into deeper panic mode at his law office & hires a computer hacker to hack into banking records to destroy Jackson's credit. Jackson immediately discovers he cannot buy the house he was trying to obtain. Since he believed getting that house would magically put his family back together, his heightening rage against Affleck inspires him to unscrew the lugnuts on Affleck's car so that a wheel flies off at high speed on the highway. Having nearly been killed, Affleck angrily makes false reports of a pending kidnapping after a custody dispute & gets Jackson thrown in jail.

None of this absurdness is intended to be funny, the author of this drivel is deadly serious. It just makes the eyes role in disbelief that anyone could've written anything this ridiculous & actually gotten it made with A-list actors.

These two guys are screwing up each others' lives over a fender-bender, each in turn upping the ante of revenge. The only thing that could possibly make this movie worse is if everything turned out well & they "learned something" from their behavior & became better men who lived happily ever after. Which of course is exactly what happens.

The happy ending made me go "ewwww, creepy," but the writer of this bullshit pablum was as earnest as any PAX station twinky-ass moralistic scribbler can be. The DVD's little featurette "Changing Lanes: The Writer's Perspective" reveals all too clearly that these peckerwoods (writer & director) really tricked themselves into believing they had made a film about morality & kindness.

Moral? What nonsense. Jackson attempts murder by sabotaging Affleck's car & didn't kill him only by luck. Yet he gets off scott free & by the end of the day has no lingering repurcussions, in fact everything's better than it was. The message here is "Doing harm to others pays off," up to & including attempted murder. A very similar "moral" lesson awaits Affleck separately:

It's preposterous to assert Affleck has become a "better man" by learning he can have more power at the crooked law firm, & even do good if he wants at no risk to his cushy job, if he first & foremost blackmails his father-in-law by keeping the documents in a safe place so that at any time things don't go his way, he could have pop thrown in prison. Affleck's own imprisonable crime of blackmail shows that this self-serving shylock is exactly the same man he was at the beginning, willing to commit felonies & threaten people's lives to get what he wants at the given moment.

Like most moralistic dweeby cretins, the author & director of this piece of excrement wouldn't recognize morality if it was incarnate in their dog.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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