Saturday, October 27, 2007

Review - Reign Over Me

Reign Over Me (Binder, 2007)

Adam Sandler is still struggling, years after a terrible loss, his entire family in one plane crash, and Don Cheadle hopes he can help him face his grief.
A weepy-sad little movie, Reign is like a male-bonding, buddy-movie version of a classic, tear-jerker chick flick. The story is simple and straight-forward, so simple in fact, that it almost seems lacking; a man has lost his wife and three daughters all at once, and does everything he can to avoid the painful memories. So what? When his old college roommate, played by Don Cheadle, reappears in his life, he can't even remember his old friend. That's not all that remarkable. Also unremarkable is the sub-par performance by Liv Tyler, who is flat as an eternally soft-voiced therapist determined (though I'm not sure she feels anything quite that strong) to help Sandler's character. [SPOILER WARNING] Rather unbelievable is the story of another female character who sexually harasses Cheadle (tries to force him to engage in sexual activity with her through threat of lawsuit) and yet becomes a viable love-interest for Sandler at the end. [END SPOILER] Remarkably forgettable is Jada Pinkett-Smith's character as a semi-nagging wife to Cheadler. But what is truly remarkable, and worth the four stars I gave this movie, is the fact that someone finally figured out how to humanize and personalize the tragedy of 9/11 for me. Reign makes quiet mention of the fact that that was how Sandler's character lost his family, but it doesn't dwell on it, because it is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is the immense personal loss that occurred, and it is that loss, manifested in Sandler's pained face, that draws out the tears and then the renewed empathy for all the victims' families.

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