Changing Lanes (2002)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Changing Lanes</strong> (2002)

(In theaters, April 2002) The trailers will try to sell you a black-versus-white story of a poor family man being unjustly tormented by a rich young lawyer. But that’s not quite the story of Changing Lanes, which proves to be more complex than that. Our young rich lawyer (Ben Affleck, in a rather good role) proves to be the protagonist with the most to learn. Our middle-aged family man (Samuel L. Jackson, also quite good) turns to be a walking ball of barely-repressed anger. Neither is particularly sympathetic, and that proves to be one of the film’s weaknesses. Changing Lanes proves to be curiously tepid, as the quasi-juvenile war of dirty tricks between both rages on for a full day. The awful coincidences propelling the plot forward, the contrived situations manipulated by the screen writer and the all-too-sugary conclusion are also sore points. On the plus side, though, there’s a great confrontation between Affleck and Sidney Poitier, an unconventional battle of characters and an attempt at social reflection on the meaning of civilized behaviour. Unfortunately, the film stumbles as many times as it advances, and the end result is merely so-so.

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