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The plot lives up to the title

From the very beginning of Derailed, one senses impending doom and tragedy, not just for the characters in the film but also for the audience. Charles Schine (a craggy, spent Clive Owen) trudges to work every morning in the Chicago rain. His wife is a cold shell of a woman who won't even kiss him good-bye in the morning. His daughter is a Type 1 diabetic. His dog has a small bladder. And so on.

If you are one who believes in the inescapability of one's fate, then the opening of the film certainly seals the fate of Mr. Owen. His boring, judgmental wife -- who quite obviously thinks he's worthless -- takes all of the cash out of his wallet. Of course he forgets this, and in the driving rain he runs to his northern-suburb train stop, missing his regular train and boarding the late one without the money he needs to purchase a ticket. An abrasive ticket taker comes by and threatens to boot Charles' ass off the train. Enter Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Anniston), the object of every creepy businessman on the train's lurky, leering gaze.

She volunteers, out of the blue, to pay for Charlie's ticket, citing the fact that it is a paltry nine dollars. And she can afford it; Lucinda is a high-powered banking executive. Within minutes we learn that she's wealthy as the day is long, she has a daughter, and her husband is a boring banker whose Olde English name would probably be Sir Golfs-a-Lot. In other words, she's ripe for an affair.

Anniston herself is less the reason for the affair than the fact that Charlie is married to Deanna (Melissa George), the human equivalent of drying paint. So, Charlie, who has never strayed, takes a shine to Lucinda, and the two begin a deep-cover romance.

One drunken evening, the shoe finally drops, and Charles and Lucinda decide to do the deed. Of course, they choose the wrong roach-infested hotel in which to perform said act. Why two wealthy executives would decide to have their extra-marital affair in a hotel that a starving heroine addict would find too filthy for a fix is beyond this reviewer, but then again, most of the choices that the characters in this movie make are beyond reason. Regardless, they pay their forty-eight dollars and go to town.

Somewhere between second and third base (remember those high school terms for how far your hands have gotten with the opposite sex?) they are caught in a rundown. In bursts Phillip Laroche (Vincent Cassel) with a gun, a cheesy French accent, and a hankerin' for some violence. The two don't go to the police because Lucinda is afraid her husband will find out. So Laroche keeps hounding Charlie for money he just doesn't have, and Charlie's life starts to unravel.

Now, an aside.

Do you remember when the Wu Tang Clan released their Enter the 36 Chambers? The album changed everything. Anyway, I had entertained hope that the RZA's presence in Derailed would somehow save things, add an edge of Shaolin reality to the film. How wrong I was. The RZA's character is named Winston Boyko, and he works in Charlie's office as a mailroom dude who has spent time in the Joint. Charlie enlists the RZA's help in dealing with Laroche, but without revealing too much, that doesn't really work out.

Derailed is one of those movies that just sucks the energy right out of you. Every move that Charlie makes is the wrong move. I mean every single one of them. This is one of those movies that makes you want to scream at the movie screen. "Why are you doing that?" or "What the hell are you thinking?" or "What, you're too good for that hooker

Save yourselves. Do not, under any circumstances, see this steaming pile of a movie.

Rating: 0 out of 5 stars