Apr 132009
Authors: Marjorie Hamburger

Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) is a man who has lost everything. Five years ago, his wife and children were killed on a plane hijacked in the Sept. 11 attacks. To deal with his grief and suppress his unwanted memories, Charlie regresses to behaving like a teenager.

In the busy streets of New York City, Charlie encounters his old college roommate, Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle), who tries to get him counseling to deal with his grief. When confronted over any issues of his family, he denies having one. This leads to an agonizing series of therapy sessions that never seem to improve his situation.

Charlie and Alan begin to spend more and more time together, doing activities mainly marked for adolescents. The two spend endless days playing video games, wandering the streets of Manhattan on a scooter and watching Mel Brooks marathons.

Although Alan wants Charlie’s mental state to improve, he also takes pleasure in Charlie’s company. Spending mindless guy time with Charlie seems a nice break from his dutiful husband and parent roles.

Alan places himself in a difficult situation. Should he continue spending hoards of time with Charlie for the sake of friendship and personal fulfillment, or should he put all childish things behind him and act as an adult?

The plot thickens when Charlie begins to lose all self control and act out in an absurd, violent fashion. When he brings this threat into Alan’s personal life, lines must be drawn.

Both Cheadle and Sandler play phenomenal roles in this picture. Sandler admirably pulls off Charlie’s as a disturbed and intense character. His role comes across as awkwardly humorous since he thinks and acts decades younger than he is. This is often viewed as humorous, yet distressing at the same time. This is undoubtedly one of Sandler’s deepest and more profound performances that has unfortunately been overlooked.

“Reign Over Me” gives audiences an intimate look into the life of two men who collide after many years of separation. Their lives have been inexplicably altered since last they met, yet somehow they manage to rebuild a bond.

To witness friends struggle over life’s unexplainable twists and turns, to watch them fall time and time again is cause for anyone’s attempt to relieve them from their misery. Sometimes the repercussions are harsh, but we continue to do it because it’s the only humane thing to do.

Staff writer Marjorie Hamburger can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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