Sandler’s reign (hardy-har-har)

OK, so I’m a week late to review this movie – what can I say, I’m a busy man. Anyway, Mrs. Suit and I headed down to the local nickelodeon today to check out Reign Over Me, Adam Sandler‘s latest attempt to prove himself as a serious actor. For the most part, he acquits himself nicely – I’m not ready to crown him the next Robin Williams (in terms of comedic actors showing real chops), but he’s no slouch either.

Interestingly, he’s not even in the first 10 or 15 minutes of the film – that time goes to the superb Don Cheadle, who turns in another great performance (although his character development felt a bit forced). Sandler was quite good – he is definitely at his best when displaying more primal emotions like rage (which he does a few times in the film). His performance here almost makes up for huge, steaming piles like The Waterboy.

While the 9/11 attacks serve as the underpinning of the film, it’s not exploited for tears like it would be in any big Hollywood movie (I’m looking at you, Oliver Stone). Sandler’s family could just have easily died in a car crash, and the emotional impact would be the same. His journey to acceptance seems perfectly plausible, mainly because by the end he’s taken only small steps on that journey.

A nice bonus was the superlative supporting cast — among them Robert Klein and Melinda Dillon (Ralphie’s mom from A Christmas Story) as Sandler’s grieving parents-in law; Liv Tyler as a psychologist who tries to help Sandler; Donald Sutherland as a no-nonsense judge; and some entertaining cameos from B.J. Novak (Ryan from The Office) and a bloated John de Lancie (Star Trek’s “Q,” looking more like XXL these days).

So to sum up – good story, excellent cast, great performances, and a decent but totally unnecessary Pearl Jam cover of The Who’s “Reign O’er Me.” Worth seeing for sure.

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