“Reign Over Me,” review by Joanna Langfield
This one is like a punch in the stomach: but in a good way.
Mike Binder has come a long way since his often whiny HBO series, The Mind of a Married Man, tackled some of the same issues that arise in this thoughtful, funny drama. Adam Sandler (well get to him later) and Don Cheadle star, nicely playing off one another as two former dental school roommates, reuniting under the toughest of circumstances. We are almost off-handedly told Sandlers young wife and daughters were killed in one of the hijacked planes on September 11th.
Devastated, he has essentially dropped out of society, taking refuge in a pitiful, lonely madness. When the two men accidentally reconnect, Cheadle is having his own, albeit more subtle problems, the usual stuff of a usual life, but stuff all the same. It is what these two men do for each other that allows Binder to address the everyday and the horribly extraordinary, which he does with perception and even a graceful humor. If he had edited out a few unnecessary scenes and maybe developed a few different ones, what is a fine script would have been stronger and harder to shake.
Don Cheadle is terrific, as he is always. Even the women in this movie, dealing with underwritten roles, shine. But, clearly, the story here is Sandler, who is absolutely extraordinary. Softening the understandable insanity with an innate charm, Adam delivers a performance that rings achingly true and does, indeed, break our hearts