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'Derailed' runs on well worn tracks

Photo courtesy of Weinstein Company
Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston star in 'Derailed,' which coincidentally turns out to be a train wreck of a movie.
By Tessa Strasser
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 17, 2005
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Let's be honest: The only reason someone might go see "Derailed" is for Clive Owen. One could probably go to Blockbuster for cheaper and find any movie in the drama section with almost the exact same plot. Owen's the reason Jennifer Aniston even agreed to take the role - so she could work with that dreamboat.

Owen plays Charles Schine, who's supposed to be our average Joe who lives a humdrum life in suburbia.

One day, he's running late for work and tries to get on the train without money for fare, but fortunately Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston) is willing to pay for the stranger. Schine is intrigued by her stylish outfit and black heels. Aniston even has her hair dyed brown, just in case you didn't get that she's supposed to be intriguing and edgy.

Harris mentions she works as a financial advisor in their conversation, which centers around how drab their lives and marriages are. He finds her number online, and a casual dinner turns into a scandalous rendezvous at a sleazy hotel. Moral No. 1 of all thrillers: Never use the sleazy hotel. A French robber sneaks in, beats Schine into a bloody pulp, rapes Harris and then steals both their credit cards.

See It!

5 out of 10
Rated R
110 Minutes
Weinstein Company

This is not just an ordinary thief, and stealing their credit cards just wasn't enough. First, he wants $20,000 from Schine because the sinful pair hadn't gone to the police since they would have to explain why they were at the hotel in the first place. Schine is nice enough to pay it off, and the thief realizes he's found an easy payday. He decides he wants yet another loan from Schine. Schine tells him off, only to realize the thief is calling him from his house, resulting in the token chase scene all thrillers must include.

What's most frustrating about watching "Derailed" is seeing Owen play a character who just keeps taking his beat downs. He's too busy attempting to act like the nice guy to stop getting taken for a ride every time the con artist comes calling. A movie can only take so many scenes of Owen crying and getting covered in blood. We get it. He's a wuss.

Schine finally wises up and decides to go to the police. Of course, what sort of thriller would it be if it were that easy? The end result is four people dead in a hotel and Schine covered in blood. Or is it?

In an attempt to be original and witty, the movie offers up a couple of possible endings before it actually finishes. This makes the ride drag on way too long.

"Derailed" is not a bad vehicle for Aniston to break away from her typecast roles. The movie is okay if you can get past all the clichés and major plot holes. One major plot hole is that the wife never notices all the money rapidly disappearing from their bank account (funny how they never do) and that the police never catch on to any of the crime. If you can stop trying to think at all (because the plot will pretty much give itself away) all the twists and turns of the thriller add up to be not too bumpy of a ride.

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