Reign Over Me is not a tragicomedy; it’s an awkward blending of tragedy and comedy that feels more forced than it was intended to. Writer/director Mike Binder is clearly self-conscious of the fact that he is making a movie that deals with September 11th, still a very touchy subject and one that only in the past couple years has Hollywood begun to address. Pushing jokes where they’re not needed is not a sign of having come to terms with the subject — instead it’s a sign that Hollywood still has a long way to go.
Still trying to shed the Billy Madison image (though he keeps the temper tantrum voice), Adam Sandler takes
on yet another serious role, and he’s actually very compelling as the husband suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after his family was killed in one of the downed planes. Coming to his rescue is Don Cheadle, a former college roommate whom he hasn’t seen in years and who is going through his own midlife crisis. From there, both of their stories progress as one would expect from a “buddy” scenario such as this. Yet some of their scenes together are the best parts of the movie — moments when Reign Over Me isn’t trying to prove either its pathos or is sense of humor.