Monday, February 2, 2009

Reign Over Me

Yeah. I'm a month behind already. So, here's review number one.


I'll see anything with Don Cheadle in it. Almost. I haven't seen HOTEL RWANDA. It looks like it might be a bit of a downer. I'll be in the mood for eventually, but now is not the time.

Now is the time to see Adam Sandler be a downer. Sandler an plays ex-dentist whose family was killed on 9/11. He dropped out of society, lives at night watching movies, playing video games and guest drumming in various bands. He rides a gas powered scooter around Manhattan while wearing noise cancelling headphones to shut out the world. That's three kinds of dangerous, son.

Don Cheadle is Sandler's roommate from college whose own life is in a rut of his own making. He's bored at work and feels trapped at home. After he randomly spots Sandler on the streets, twice, he approaches him has to get him to acknowledge their past history. The two try to pick up their friendship where they left off. However, it's all on Sandler's timetable. He drops in on Cheadle's house and office at inappropriate times and gets him to stay out all night.

This film takes a shitty third act turn. No other way to say it. Does the Sandler character need to be committed to a mental health care facility? After a "suicide by cop" attempt, a point gotten to by his refusal to acknowledge the family he lost and the paranoia that every new person that comes into his life is a psychologist, he might indeed be a danger to himself and others.

The third act does provide a great cameo by Donald Sutherland as the judge presiding over the case.

I really enjoyed the film up to the point where I realized I'd been watching it for an hour and a half and we weren't yet summing up. Before that, excellent acting all around carries the film. I thought it was a pretty risky role for Sandler but he did it with subtlety and showed real vulnerability without acting like he was acting. Don Cheadle was very Don Cheadley, but I dig that. Jada Pinkett Smith may be a better actor than The Fresh Prince as Cheadle's wife. She plays her character in way that doesn't look like the angry wife you've seen a million times. All this is rounded out by a chubby looking Liv Tyler.

The big winner though is Mike Binder, the director and writer. I'm still really amazed by HD. This film really works well with it. Excellent photography of NYC and a flow of scenes that works great until Sandler cries out the films title in his courtroom scene. Oh, well. I watched it all, which is better than others that may or may not appear on this blog.

My Rating: Netflix it. Somewhere in the middle of your queue. That way it'll be a nice surprise and maybe you'll have a Blu-Ray player by then.