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Reign Over Me (4 stars)

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(15) 124min

It’s interesting to note that the more serious the role Adam Sandler plays the more he looks like Bob Dylan. Last time he wiped the smile off his own face was in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love but that was only an aperitif for this turn as a widower suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Five years after the event, Sandler’s protagonist hasn’t got over the death of his wife and three daughters in one of the planes involved in 9/11. His hair disheveled, his shirts crumpled, Charlie is a rolling stone; he plays computer games and bangs drums hoping to forget his troubles and his former life as a successful dentist. That is until he bumps into his old college pal Alan (Don Cheadle, excellent), who is trying to say goodbye to his ladykiller ways, and somehow these two men find a connection.

Director and former stand-up comedian Mike Binder (The Sex Monster and The Upside of Anger) likes to fatten up his movies with side stories. Here the comic interludes are provided by the beautiful Saffron Burrows who propositions Alan in the dentist’s chair. Binder also throws into the ring a young psychiatrist (Liv Tyler) residing in Alan’s apartment block and the concerned parents-in-law of Charlie. These asides are distracting and enjoyable if a little flabby in places. This detracts from what is mostly a thoughtful, even stupefying study/comedy of human frailty.

Reign Over Me

  • 4 stars
  • 2007
  • US
  • 124 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Mike Binder
  • Written by: Mike Binder
  • Cast: Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, Donald Sutherland, Mike Binder

Charlie (Sandler) is a widower suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder five years after 9/11 until he bumps into his old college pal Alan (Cheadle, excellent). The many comic interludes and side stories are nice but ultimately detract from what is mostly a thoughtful, even stupefying study/comedy of human frailty.

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