Release Date: March 23rd, 2007 by Columbia Pictures.
The Cast: Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, Donald Sutherland, Robert Klein, Melinda Dillon, Mike Binder, Paula Newsome.
Directed by Mike Binder.
BASIC PREMISE: Charlie (Cheadle) tries to rekindle his friendship with Alan (Sandler), his former college roommate, Charlie (Sandler), who grieves from a tragedy.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Those expecting an absorbing drama will be disappointed by Reign Over Me. Don Cheadle plays Alan, a dentist married to Janeane (Smith) and spends the entire second act trying to reconnect with his former college roommate, Charlie (Sandler), who he bumps into on the streets of Manhattan. It turns out that Charlie has lost his wife and kids in a plane that crashed into one of the towers on 9/11, so he acts hostile toward others, including his own parents. If the plot focused on Charlie and Alan’s relationship and had some surprises or more character development for Charlie, this could have been a much more engaging film. More scenes between a young psychiatrist (Tyler) and Charlie would have helped, too. Unfortunately, there’s an unnecessary subplot involving Donna (Burrows), one of Alan’s patients, who comes onto Alan in his office and, when he rejects her, she threatens a lawsuit. Writer/director Mike Binder does a poor job of tying all the threads of this narrative together coherently and includes lengthy, talkative scenes that drag—how many times does he have to show Charlie playing a video game? According to the press notes, Binder starts his screenplays by writing a comedy which turns into a drama. He shouldn’t have even considered this to be a comedy at any point, yet some scenes feel like they belong in one or at least in a sitcom. Adam Sandler has already proven that he can play a serious role believably in Punch Drunk Love, but here, as Charlie, he just mopes around or says awkward things like “I slept in the nude” to Alan’s receptionist, played by the lively, scene-stealing Paula Newsome. Also, Charlie’s Bob Dylan-like hairdo is quite distracting. By the time Donald Sutherland shows up to add some gravitas to this soft-headed, messy drama, it has already overstayed its welcome with a running time of 2 hours and 4 minutes.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Dull, unfocused and often drags.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8
IN A NUTSHELL: A dull, unfocused, convoluted drama that often drags.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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