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"CHANGING LANES"
(2002) (Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Extreme Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Mild None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Minor Heavy Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A minor traffic accident and some misunderstandings and bad behavior change the lives of two men who get into a progressively escalating match of tit for tat.
PLOT:
Gavin Banek (BEN AFFLECK) and Doyle Gipson (SAMUEL L. JACKSON) are two men in a hurry to get somewhere when they're involved in a minor traffic accident. Gavin, a 29-year-old lawyer, needs to get to the courthouse for a probate hearing to deliver documents that will transfer control of a wealthy but deceased man's $107 million estate over to his law firm.

Unbeknownst to either man, Doyle, an insurance agent and recovering alcoholic, is also headed for the courthouse, but for different reasons. His estranged wife, Valerie (KIM STAUNTON), is planning to move their two young sons across the country to get away from him. Doyle needs to attend a custody hearing where he plans to announce that he's just been approved to buy his first house that he going to allow Valerie and the kids to use so that they won't move.

Unfortunately for him, the accident leaves his car out of commission, and Gavin, who gives him a blank check to pay for any inconvenience, refuses to give him a lift, telling him "better luck next time." When Gavin gets to the courthouse, however, he realizes that in his confused rush at the accident scene he accidentally left a folder containing one of the important documents needed for the transfer.

The judge gives him until the end of the day to file them with the court, and Gavin then lies to his bosses, Stephen Delano (SYDNEY POLLACK) and Walter Arnell (RICHARD JENKINS), the former who just so happens to be his father-in-law, that everything went fine. Confiding in his assistant, Michelle (TONI COLLETTE), Gavin tries to figure out what to do.

Meanwhile, Doyle is late for his hearing and thus loses custody of his kids and most any chance of Valerie staying in the city. When Gavin eventually tracks him down, Doyle says he threw the folder away and heads off to a nearby bar, much to the chagrin of his AA sponsor (WILLIAM HURT), but not before retrieving the papers after realizing how much Gavin wants them.

He's about ready to return them when Gavin leaves him a nasty message stating that he's ruined his financial status thanks to the work of a hired gun (DYLAN BAKER) who can do such things. From that point on, and as Gavin's greedy wife Cynthia Banek (AMANDA PEET) urges him to continue in the firm's corrupt ways so that they can maintain their lifestyle, the two men get into an escalating match of tit for tat that eventually reaches extreme and even dangerous levels.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast or dramatic thrillers they might, but it doesn't seem likely that any but the oldest of teens will otherwise be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BEN AFFLECK plays a young lawyer who's corrupt and having an affair with his assistant. When he learns that Doyle has some important paperwork of his, he sets out to ruin his life to force him to give it back (and goes to extreme measures in doing so). He eventually starts to develop a conscience late in the game, however, and uses some strong profanity.
  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON plays an insurance agent/broker who's upset with Gavin for making him late to a court hearing for custody of his kids (that he thus loses). A recovering alcoholic, he wants to do the right thing, but ends up getting caught up in the escalating tit for tat battle with Gavin.
  • TONI COLLETTE plays Gavin's assistant and mistress who tries to help him get through the legal and moral predicament of his current situation.
  • WILLIAM HURT plays Doyle's AA sponsor who briefly uses strong profanity.
  • AMANDA PEET plays Gavin's wife who encourages him to continue playing the corrupt legal game so that they can live well, and doesn't mind that he's had an affair.
  • KIM STAUNTON plays Doyle's wife who's fed up with his recurring problems and wants to move their boys across the country to get away from him.
  • SYDNEY POLLACK plays Gavin's boss and father-in-law who's corrupt and uses strong profanity.
  • RICHARD JENKINS plays his equally corrupt partner.
  • DYLAN BAKER plays a "fixer" who wipes out Doyle's financial status after being hired by Gavin to do so.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 10 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also present. Most every character in the film is corrupt and/or has a bad attitude and behavior, including the two main characters who get into a progressively escalating match of tit for tat, and the reports of several affairs.

    Some of that results in some violence (people hitting others, a person tampering with another's car that leads to an accident, etc.) with some brief, slightly bloody results. A character is noted as being a recovering alcoholic but doesn't drink despite the temptation to do so, while some tense family scenes involve a mother planning to move her two sons away from their trouble-prone father who desperately wants to keep them nearby but loses custody of them.

    Should the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home still be of concern to you, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see Doyle and others at an AA meeting where he says he feels like champagne (not that he wants it, but is it). Later, Doyle's sponsor says that some people are addicted to coke or booze, but that Doyle is addicted to chaos.
  • Upset at how things have turned out, Doyle goes into a bar and orders a shot of bourbon, but ultimately doesn't drink it. Two other men in the bar have drinks in front of them.
  • Stephen appears to have a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A miscellaneous man has a small, bloody cut on his head after being hit there.
  • Gavin has a few bloody cuts on his face after being in a car wreck.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Although not exactly mean upon initially running into Doyle, Gavin isn't nice to him (he doesn't want to exchange names & info, tries to write him a blank check, and won't give him a lift when his car is disabled, etc.).
  • Gavin lies to a judge about the situation behind a missing document, and then does the same to his bosses. He then admits that he took advantage of an ailing, rich man to get him to sign over his estate to the law firm.
  • Doyle refuses to return Gavin's documents (for the way he was treated) and eventually tries to harm him by tampering with his car.
  • Michelle tells Gavin about a man who covertly helps people out (by doing illegal things). Gavin then pays him to erase Doyle's records and make him look bankrupt (thus, all three have bad attitudes).
  • Some men in a bar have bad attitudes toward Doyle and confront him outside (after he makes some disparaging, come-back remarks to them about their fathers).
  • Gavin's bosses are corrupt, with both arranging to take seven-figure payments from the foundation and arranging to forge a document to make sure the deal goes through in court.
  • We learn that Gavin has been having an affair with Michelle and briefly see them nearly kiss (after some brief nuzzling).
  • Gavin's wife doesn't mind that he's been having an affair with Michelle, or that her father also had a mistress. Instead, she encourages him to be corrupt, along with her father, so that they can continue living their rich lifestyle (she says she could have married an honest man, but chose not to).
  • Gavin goes to the school where Doyle's boys are enrolled and lies to the staff that Doyle is deranged and wants to kidnap his sons. He then leaves a message for Doyle that there's been an accident at school, knowing that Doyle will go there acting agitated and thus be arrested.
  • Eventually, however, Doyle develops a conscience and tries to do the right thing in various matters.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be disturbing and/or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • We see that Doyle has removed the lug nuts from Gavin's front left tire. Consequently, the tire falls off and Gavin's car goes out of control and crashes, damaging the car and slightly injuring him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Who the f*ck gives a sh*t?" "Don't you f*ck with me," "Sh*thole," "Bullsh*t," "What the hell?" "Screw this up," "Screw" (nonsexual) and "You scared the hell out of us."
  • Gavin and Doyle set out to intimidate and then ruin the lives of each other, using various means to do so.
  • Gavin sets a piece of paper on fire in a toaster at work and then holds it up to the sprinkler to make it and the rest of the sprinklers in the office go off.
  • We see that Doyle has removed the lug nuts from Gavin's front left tire. Consequently, the tire falls off and Gavin's car goes out of control and crashes, damaging the car and slightly injuring him.
  • Gavin goes to the school where Doyle's boys are enrolled and lies to the staff that Doyle is deranged and wants to kidnap his sons. He then leaves a message for Doyle that there's been an accident at school, knowing that Doyle will go there acting agitated and thus be arrested.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of such music plays during a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 10 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 9 "s" words, 4 hells, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B, 2 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "God," "Jesus Christ" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We learn that Gavin has been having an affair with Michelle and briefly see them nearly kiss (after some brief nuzzling).
  • SMOKING
  • A few miscellaneous people on the street smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Doyle's wife is planning on moving with their two boys to Oregon to get away from him, and that he's trying to buy a house for them so that they'll stay and perhaps take him back. He then loses custody of them in a hearing due to being late. Although he tries to arrange for them to stay nearby, the wife eventually has enough of him and his stories and says that they're moving and that he'll never see their sons again (although at the end, she's still there).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The moral, ethical and societal implications, messages and themes the film offers about the law, people and corruption (such as Stephen saying that he can live with himself and his actions because at the end of the day he believes he's done more good than harm, and then adds "What other standards have I got to judge by?")
  • How one small event can change one's life.
  • How you treat others - even strangers - can come back and haunt you.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Gavin and Doyle get into a car accident where no one in hurt, but some damage occurs to their cars.
  • Doyle grabs Gavin by the coat and pulls him from his car in an angry fashion, but nothing else violent occurs.
  • Two men from a bar come up to accost Doyle who's on a pay phone. Doyle then rips the receiver from the phone and hits the men with it and/or his fist (one once, the other twice), resulting in one having a bloody cut on his head).
  • Upset that a loan officer won't help him (due to a computer readout), Doyle yanks the man's computer monitor from his desk, throws it against a wall and then stomps down on it.
  • We see that Doyle has removed the lug nuts from Gavin's front left tire. Consequently, the tire falls off and Gavin's car goes out of control and crashes, damaging the car and slightly injuring him (he has a few bloody cuts on his face).
  • Some police officers/security guards struggle with Doyle at his sons' school, eventually pinning him to the ground and cuffing him.



  • Reviewed April 8, 2002 / Posted April 12, 2002

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