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DVD Review: Derailed

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Good morning. I would like to welcome you to the M. Night Shyamalan school of film-making, where every movie you make must twist and turn like Chubby Checker racing Nascar. You must jerk your audience around no matter how manipulative and unfair you must be. Who needs real storylines and good acting when you can just move things around on the fly with contrived complications and unrealities?

rderailed.jpgSure, you could accomplish something really special with a story laden with clues like in The Usual Suspects, but why would you want to do that? That takes a lot of time and effort. This is the same kind of time and effort that you can’t fit into your schedule when you are booking powerhouse talent like Jennifer Aniston, RZA, Clive Owen and XZibit in your movie cast. By the way, is the goal in rap to have a name with as few vowels as humanly possible?

All (or most) snarkiness aside, this movie wasn’t very good. The acting was suspect. The writing was riddled with lines that could have come out of almost any movie. When Jennifer Aniston’s character is sitting on the train talking about her past, I could have finished her sentences for her. Blah blah blah, army brat. Blah blah blah, moved around a lot growing up. Blah blah blah. Seriously, who talks like this? What purpose did it serve? This movie pushed the cheese-o-meter really far with its unintentionally hilarious moments.

And if that wasn’t enough, this movie telegraphs every punch it might have in the arsenal. You can figure out pretty easily which team everyone is playing for and what has happened. And if you are even half paying attention to the obvious foreshadowing, you will realize that this movie is just about the fake ending and we are going to have a really final “no-we-mean-it-this-is-really-the-ending” type of ending to follow it all up.

Really, what would the modern-day thriller be without overdoing it with some kind of double ending?

It really isn’t effective and at the end of the movie, you are left feeling ripped off because there were all these twists and turns, but you were able to see them and react to them early and often like playing through the first few levels of a video game before it really gets difficult. And that is not how we want to spend the roughly two hours it takes to invest in a movie.

Finally, I am quite disappointed that this is the offering we get from Jennifer Aniston. I thought she was on such a good track with The Good Girl. Hopefully she will return to some roles that rely on her acting ability rather than placing so much responsibility on directors and writers who are so susceptible to missing the mark no matter who the top actors are on the cast listing.

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