Changing Lanes is, long story short, about a poor guy who gets screwed by a pompous rich guy. Basically.
Samuel L. Jackson plays a poor guy whose life is falling apart. His wife is divorcing him and taking his kids across the country, he’s a recovering alcoholic, and he just generally seems to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ben Affleck is a richer-than-God lawyer who claims to uphold the law but really just finds loopholes through which to screw the average person. I’m sure you’ve heard of these people. These people are why like 10% of the people in the world have 90% of the wealth.
Ben Affleck, in a hurry on his way to court to defend his latest $100M pilfering, is talking on his cell phone and not driving, like most of these folk do. He proceeds to basically run Samuel L. Jackson off the road. Samuel L. Jackson, wanting to follow through with things in his life and get things done right, asks for Ben Affleck’s insurance information, which, of course, Ben Affleck is unable to provide. Ben writes Samuel a blank check and shouts “Better luck next time!” out the window while driving off.
This makes Samuel L. Jackson late for his custody hearing, which, in turn, loses him any visitation rights to see his kids. Basically, Samuel’s been screwed.
But what Ben Affleck doesn’t realize, once he’s gotten to court, is that the folder he wrote his name and number on and gave to Samuel L. Jackson is a critical document that is needed to keep him out of jail and ensure he’s rich.
Ben Affleck tries to appeal to Samuel L. Jackson and Samuel doesn’t take any of it. He’s still pissed off about Ben making him late for the custody hearing.
Ben Affleck then hires a guy to fix the computers to make Samuel L. Jackson bankrupt with bad credit. Samuel L. Jackson strikes back at Ben Affleck by sabotaging his car. Back and forth, the war escalates.
Eventually, Samuel L. Jackson hits bottom and realizes that the bigger man is gonna have to give in. He goes and gives the file back to Ben Affleck, who decides right there that the life of the lying, rich lawyer is not for him and he’s going to help Samuel get his life and kids back first thing the next day.
I thought the general premise of the movie was great - a rich guy screws a poor guy and the poor guy actually is able to do something about it. I guess I thought there would be more to it, though. I’m not sure what, exactly, but something. Maybe more action. Maybe more intrigue. Maybe a little bit deeper characters. I can’t really put my finger on it.
On the other hand, it did keep my attention the whole time, and I did end up feeling bad for Samuel L. Jackson and hating Ben Affleck, which says something about their respective skills. I like both of those guys, so I’m glad they could pull this off.
All in all, I’d give this movie, oh, like 7.5 out of 10. I probably won’t buy it on DVD, and there wasn’t any real reason you’d have to see it on the big screen - no big effects or anything. But it was definitely worth a rental, so if you haven’t already seen it, I would put it on your list to check out.