Reign Over Me

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 191 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 191
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  1. Jasons.
    Aug 30, 2007
    1
    I'm seriously confused by many of the critical reviews of this film. Normally, I'm kind of a "go with the flow" kind of movie watcher, i.e. if the critics enjoy it then I enjoy it too. But this movie was bad on so many levels. Every role seemed so horribly miscast. Except for Jada Pinkett Smith, that is. You have an overly neurotic Sandler who seems like he's doing his old I'm seriously confused by many of the critical reviews of this film. Normally, I'm kind of a "go with the flow" kind of movie watcher, i.e. if the critics enjoy it then I enjoy it too. But this movie was bad on so many levels. Every role seemed so horribly miscast. Except for Jada Pinkett Smith, that is. You have an overly neurotic Sandler who seems like he's doing his old "they're all gonna laugh at you" routine. You have a bland Tyler, who seems about as vanilla a psychiatrist as they come. You have Cheadle, wasted as some heartthrob doctor with confidence issues. But the problems don't stop with casting. Some of the movie seems like an advertisement for a video game, other parts seem thrown together. There is so much predictability to the subplots yet so many of them are squeezed into the picture in a nonsensical fashion. This movie is so haphazard and boring it finally collapses in on itself, which is why it really deserves such a low score. Expand
  2. MarkB.
    Apr 27, 2007
    2
    A broken clock is right twice a day, and Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers is absolutely spot-on in his evaluation of this film. Writer-director Mike Binder, whose last theatrical effort was 2005's estimable The Upside of Anger, had no doubt the purest of intentions and the noblest of motives in making this exploration of a soul that's been completely shattered by a certain A broken clock is right twice a day, and Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers is absolutely spot-on in his evaluation of this film. Writer-director Mike Binder, whose last theatrical effort was 2005's estimable The Upside of Anger, had no doubt the purest of intentions and the noblest of motives in making this exploration of a soul that's been completely shattered by a certain recent set of cataclysmic events, but the finished result is grotesque, tasteless and nearly unwatchable: Binder has made 9/11: The Sitcom. Can you use humor as a viable element in dealing with the near-unspeakable horror and tragedy of September 11 and its aftermath? Absolutely; one of the best songs on Bruce Springsteen's 9/11-themed DC The Rising is "Mary's Place", in which the protagonists deal by throwing a wild party, and even Paul Greengrass in United 93 used amusing conversations about families, dates and significant others by passengers and crew members of Flight 93 to intensify their humanity and our feeling of dread in knowing what was going to happen to them. Binder's basic storyline and framework is certainly viable: successful dentist Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) bumps into his old college roomie Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler), who's been "dealing with" the loss of his wife and kids by reverting to preadolescence and pretending his family never existed while spurning contact with anyone who reminds him that they did. As the treatment proves, however, Binder is certainly no Springsteen or Greengrass: it's one thing to be artistically ambivalent as to whether Charlie is a funny figure or a tragic one or both, but quite another to keep tweaking the tone from scene to scene for cheap emotional effects so that Binder can twist his audience like a Transformer toy. And then there's the extraordinarily inappropriate subplot involving a seemingly nymphomaniacal young woman (Saffron Burrows, who deserves a salute for doing her best under the circumstances) who's stalking Alan, the running gags in which various people get thrown out of Alan's office only to be readmitted two scenes later, and an annoyingly stereotypical, predictable approach to characterization that's perfectly illustrated by the assumption that because Alan is Black, he can't appreciate Charlie's favorite rock artists or any musician or group that isn't strictly R&B. Even though Sandler's curiously acclaimed but strictly one-dimensional performance serendipitously dovetails with the writing, about the best thing I can say for it is that it's the inevitable price we pay for such GOOD recent work done by comic actors attempting to stretch as Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction, Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Sandler himself in Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish. Cheadle and Jada Pinkett Smith (as his dissatisfied wife) are normally terrific, charismatic actors but here both come off as so chilly and unapproachable they seem to have force fields operating around them. Ironically, Reign Over Me's only good scene comes late in the film, involves Donald Sutherland as a judge who dispenses truly Solomon-like wisdom in his advice to Charlie's in-laws, and DOESN'T feature any of the three leads! It's obvious from many of these postings that a great many viewers were deeply moved or affected by this film, and I can't or won't try to argue with them. I will humbly suggest, however, that one of many possible reasons for this (at least in some cases) is that Reign Over Me IS exploring new ground by being the first major studio film to deal with the anguish of those who have lost loved ones due to 9/11-related causes. But just as 1947's Gentleman's Agreement won widespread acclaim and awards for being the first big American movie to deal with anti-Semitism, but later came to be seen as overly talky and self-congratulatory, not to say deeply inferior to later, better treatments of the subject (including the film noir Crossfire, released the same year), so will Reign Over Me be totally eclipsed by genuinely good or great movies dealing with its topic that have yet to be made. While Reign Over Me is hardly in the category of, say, the merchants in fall 2001 beating the drum for consumers to keep on consuming "or else the terrorists win", or Ann Coulter slandering 9/11 widows to whip up publicity for her latest book, it still comes across for this moviegoer as crass and exploitative. Worse still, it almost made me nostalgic for such "pure" Adam Sandler vehicles as The Longest Yard, Anger Management and Click. Almost! Expand
  3. Angelo
    Apr 20, 2007
    2
    A tonally inconsistent, misogynistic, awkward, lumbering mismash of a movie. Sandler and Cheadle, at least, handle this tripe like pros.
  4. Jul 18, 2015
    1
    Aimless, shapeless movie about a one-dimensional view of loss and ensuing heartache. Subplots run into dry, boring endings. Sandler, the 9-11 widower, is random in his heartbroken madness. He switches from tearful to rude to snarky like a teenager who was in a fender-bender. At times like this you can only dream about asking the people who concieved this film "Why would this person do thisAimless, shapeless movie about a one-dimensional view of loss and ensuing heartache. Subplots run into dry, boring endings. Sandler, the 9-11 widower, is random in his heartbroken madness. He switches from tearful to rude to snarky like a teenager who was in a fender-bender. At times like this you can only dream about asking the people who concieved this film "Why would this person do this in this situation?" In almost every scene. It's maddening. Expand
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    80
    It doesn't exploit our emotions about Sept. 11; it simply tells a story that exists because of what happened that day -- one that should resonate with a wide, appreciative audience.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    80
    Sandler (never making a false step while maneuvering though vertiginous mood swings) and Cheadle (deftly commingling instinctive decency with quiet desperation) are individually excellent, and bring out the best in each other. And the picture itself transcends its real but relatively minor flaws to score a satisfyingly potent impact.
  3. 70
    That is an unusually gloomy proposition not just for a studio movie but for a society that, despite the acts and sites of official commemoration, must find good cause to forge ahead from catastrophe. Reign Over Me closes with, at best, a cautious hope, leaving us more anxious than when we went in, and throughout the film there is a stunned and bewildered air hanging over the city, like a heavy smog.