Picks and Pans Review: Derailed

updated 11/21/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/21/2005 01:00AM

Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Melissa George, Vincent Cassel

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Helping his daughter with a book report, ad man Charles Schine (Owen) explains to her that the assigned novel is intriguing because "you never know what's coming next." If only the same were true of Derailed. Instead, most viewers will be at least one step ahead of the plot, making this thriller decidedly less than thrilling.

Which is too bad, because the performances are solid and the outline of the story promising. Schine finds himself up to the collar of his blue oxford-cloth shirt in blackmail when a nasty stranger (Cassel) discovers that our hero has embarked upon an adulterous affair. Both Schine and his paramour (Aniston), a fellow commuter on Schine's suburban train into Chicago, are married to others, and the stranger is demanding extravagant sums to stay quiet.

Owen is magnetic as Schine, going from sweaty and desperate to determined as he realizes what he's up against. Aniston, in a tricky supporting role, proves both sexy and sympathetic. (R)

DRAMA

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