The premise behind the stupefyingly moronic Derailed is promising, but its execution is so bungled and obvious that there really is little reason to watch this movie. Derailed, based on the novel by James Siegel, is one of those movies that thinks it is much cleverer than it actually is. Anybody who has seen a few thrillers can guess what the big "twist" is, taking the suspense out of the film. Everything begins on a nice note. Charles Schine (Clive Owen, Sin City, Closer) meets Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston, Along Came Polly, Bruce Almighty) on a train. Both are married with children, but sparks fly and after some time, the two find themselves in a hotel room.


Before they physically consummate their affair, Philippe Laroche (Vincent Cassel, Ocean's Twelve, The Reckoning) storms in and robs them.  He violently rapes Harris, then accosts Schine. Afterwards, Schine wants to take Harris to the hospital, but she refuses. She doesn't want her husband to know she was having an affair. Schine lies to his coworkers and wife (Melissa George, The Amityville Horror, Down with Love) and says he was mugged. Everything seems to be fine, and life goes back to normal, until Laroche calls.  He demands $20K, or else he will tell everybody that Schine is having an affair. Rather then confess to his wife, or to the police, Schine agrees to pay the money. Oh, and his daughter (Addison Timlin) is sick and needs constant dialysis. 


Schine pays, thinking everything is over, and lo and behold, a few months later, Laroche returns asking for more. Again, against all logic, Schine agrees, this time hoping to turn the tables on Laroche. The reasonable thing to do is to save his increasingly troubled marriage, ensure the health and future of his daughter, and get his life on track. Yet, he keeps listening to Harris, who is afraid of her husband. Derailed (note the irony of the name) is DOA pretty much on arrival, but begins to get ridiculous when Schine begins to think he may be smarter than Laroche. The plot (adapted by Stuart Beattie, Collateral, Pirates of the Caribbean) is too transparent and too dull to make anybody care.


To make matters worse, just when it seems like Derailed is finally over, director Mikael Hafstrom (Drowning Ghost, Evil) tacks on an additional unnecessary ending that muddies the story even further.  How far will an ordinary man go to fix his stupidity, er, protect his family?  With the right material, Owen can come across as very intense.  He, he looks befuddled.  Aniston's performance basically consists of her frowning.  This sharply contrasts with Cassel, who is so far over the top that he is a caricature of a crazy criminal.  With Aniston's performance here, Courtney Cox's in November, and Lisa Kudrow's in Happy Endings, it has not been a good year for the alumna of Friends
Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 50 minutes, Rated R for strong disturbing violence, language, and some sexuality.

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