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Changing Lanes
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Changing Lanes order
Director:
Roger Michell

Actors:
Ben Affleck
Samuel L Jackson
Tony Colette

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two men whose lives are on very opposite courses have a chance encounter by means of a car crash. Gavin Bannock (Affleck), the rising-star attorney leaves the scene of the crash, accidentally forgetting a crucial legal document in the hands of father-to-be-no-more Doyle Gipson. As the cat and mouse game to retrieve the document begins, both men hit rock bottom and start trying to make their way back up.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If you like Ben Affleck, you'll love this movie. If you love Sam Jackson, you'll love this movie. If you're tired of seeing Ben Affleck star as Ben Affleck and Sam Jackson star as Sam Jackson, you'll get a kick out of it but no emotional investment will be necessarily warranted. It's like this you see: no matter what his job is or what his clothes are or whether he's a badass or a meek lamb, Sam Jackson is once more, the man on the edge with a bad temper and no matter his job is or what his clothes are or whether he's a badass or a meek lamb, Ben Affleck is once more, the tormented young man with a good soul. In this film, they're both assholes. There are no good guys, there's no one to cheer for, there's no one whose misery you wish you could heal. There are only assholes. Affleck's character is an asshole, Jackson's character is an asshole and most importantly, I'm an asshole (I'll vouch for that!-- JoBlo note).

Despite that, the film delivers some pretty interesting moments yet strangely enough, the most interesting are the ones where Affleck and Jackson are involved with others. Affleck has great chemistry with the two women in his life. The hot n' sexy Amanda Peet is his devilishly scheming wife and the also hot n' sexy Toni Colette is his colleague and mistress. The man is set. He also interacts brilliantly with Sydney Pollack who plays his boss, in fact, their conversation about how Wall Street lawyers end up living with their consciences was the highlight of the film for me. Jackson, on the other hand, has mostly solo scenes and the ones with his entourage usually involve him snapping, yelling, threatening and reading excerpts of the scriptures before he plugs you with lead...oops! Sorry. That last one was PULP FICTION... or JACKIE BROWN... or THE NEGOTIATOR... or you get my drift. Either way though, the film was good without being great. It was a solid way to spend a couple of hours and I must admit that I was a bit more interested in it this time around, but I can't really see why, unless I was hoping for more of the Peet/Collette duo which was the glue holding this sucker together even with their limited on-screen time. It's worth a look but don't hinge your hopes on getting anything tremendous out of this big-name cast. With a quick 98 minute running time, you can't really go wrong though.
THE EXTRAS
For starters, a full-length commentary track by director Roger Michell is included. I've heard livelier people than Michell before but overall he wasn't too bad. He discusses some pretty basic yet interesting aspects of the shooting, including the balance between the two big-name stars. One hilarious thing is to listen to the way the man says "New York" in the first couple of minutes of the track. He sounded like he was eating a lizard. Following that is a most disappointing feature: "The making of Changing Lanes". Clocking in at about 15 minutes, this is pretty much just a studio promo of the film with some interviews and comments from the director and the stars. No real "making-of" type info was given at all, except from the few location shots. Naturally, everyone involved pats everyone else on the back.

"The writers' perspective" is the next kid on the block. This is a 13-minute long discussion with screenwriters Michael Tolkin and Chap Taylor (who the hell names their kid "Chap"!?!?) about their whole take on the film and its conversion from script to finished product. Again, they wax poetic about how great everything turned out and how great working with everyone was. Who would expect otherwise? The only feature that was really worth taking note of was the very small array of deleted and extended scenes. You only get two deleted scenes and one extended one, including a pretty stirring scene where Jackson, already on the edge, ends up on his knees in his bosses office begging for his job aback after getting the heave-ho. The theatrical trailer is also available.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This baby's worth a rental but I can hardly advise more. I don't see much rewatch value in this type of film and since the bonus material's nothing to write home about, you may want to check it out before deciding whether or not it's worthy of a permanent home on your shelf.
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