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Changing Lanes

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Affleck, Toni Collette, Sydney Pollack, William Hurt, Kim Staunton and Amanda Peet.
Directed by: Roger Mitchell
Rated: R

 

Changing Lanes is an incredibly enthralling celluloid road trip that delivers at about 100mph! Jackson and Affleck command their screen with a mix of flawless timing and impeccable performances! Bravo!

Changing Lanes makes your bad day look like a walk through an improperly air-conditioned store in comparison. These two fellows, Doyle Gipson (Samuel L. Jackson) and Gavin Banek (Ben -call Emily Blunt today-Affleck) and are having the Mutha F****er of bad days after they collide on a freeway...

Doyle Gipson, a plain generic seeming fellow, is on his way to a court case that will decide his future standing with his beloved sons in a custody case. He's under pressure and feeling a tad anxiety ridden when he is sideswiped in his car by Gavin Banek in his car-- while attempting to change lanes.

Gavin Banek is Doyle's yang; a smart-dressed, fast talking, razor edged attorney. Gavin is also on his way to court, but for his large high-powered Wall Street sharky law firm.

Each has their own stress filled day staring them in the face. Neither needed an accident to start the morning off with...

With today's case, Gavin's career is on an upswing. All he's doing today is serving signature papers on a 100 million dollar trust fund for an old friend and philanthropist. Doyle's life, on the other hand is on a downswing. If he has any hope of seeing his sons weekly or monthly, he's got to convince a judge he's worthy in his case today. Being late probably won't make him a canidate for "dad of the year" or a favorite with the court.

So, Doyle begs Gavin to give him his insurance card- quickly- so they can do this right and proper. Gavin can't find it and decides it's easier to just pay-off Doyle via a blank check for his troubles…Doyle says no way Jose…he's changing his ways and insists they do it buy the book blah-blah-blah.

Frazzled and not in any mood to help save Doyle's suffering soul, Gavin barks at the Dudley Doright, "better luck next time," as he leaps into his slightly bruised Mercedes and speeds away. Doyle, his Gremlinesque car totaled, is left standing like a schmuck in the middle of the freeway, and inevitably late for his pending custody case. He notices Attorney Boy dropped a file and almost just reactionary, picks it up.

Both of them, thanks to the brief nasty encounter, have some 'splaining to do in their courts. Both of them end up with anything but decisions in their favor. Gavin needed that file, desperately to proceed, and Doyle needed the twenty minutes Gavin's fleeing the scene stole from him to proceed.

After Gavin's attempt at retreiving the file from Doyle ends in a firm call to arms, the nasty paybacks begin. The two set off in a petty dangerous tussle of tremendous proportions. Each trying to out do the other until things escalate to the absurd. Tempers boil, and trouble toils. The scariest part is how real these men and their reactions to each other seem. This could happen, any day in any place...

Samuel L. Jackson's as super duper as always. Man, this guy oozes sweet, sweet talent like a double fudge banana sundae that the clerk was heavy handed with! Delicious. He's been around a long time, but it's the last decade has given the actor his just rewards for maintaining integrity in film making. Rent anything with his name and you'll get a treat.

And I admit it…I have an Afflecktion. I am addicted to this Ben fellow. I loved him in Bounce, drooled over him in Dogma, and needed a tranquilizer in Pearl Harbor to calm my excitement what with the military uniform and all... Yeah, he's my brand of man heroin baby! Tall, clean cut and that oh-so-tasty combo of brains and brawn! But, Afflecktion aside, Benny's a damn good actor too. And Changing Lanes may be his best performance to date.

The women around the bickering duo, Amanda Peet as Gavin's power hungry wife, Toni Collette as his mistress, and Kim Staunton as Doyle's confused, co-dependent, wife did great jobs. They played women that were not glamorous in the least, and that was refreshing (especially in Peet's case). Each was so real and completely believable that they kept the insanity of the men's antics grounded.

William Hurt and Sydney Pollack appear in smaller roles as a little thespian bonus!

The best thing about Changing Lanes is the film's relentlessly rapid pace which properly mirrors the subject matter; how impatience and misunderstanding can blow out of proportions rapidly and within minutes if not handled maturely and calmly.

It's thin subplot also, shows two guys who after this day, can change the lanes...the paths, their lives are on, if they chose so.

After this you'll definitely think twice about treating the other driver on your road like a jackass! Enjoy!


Snack recommendation: Snapper and Starbucks Grande Latte.

 

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