‘Reign Over Me’ far from a chick flick

Emily Bearg

When movie-goers think of an emotionally-charged, grief-stricken widower wandering the streets of New York City on a go-ped, Adam Sandler wouldn’t normally come to mind. But in “Reign Over Me,” Sandler, along with co-star Don Cheadle, gives his most believable acting role yet.

After losing his entire family (and dog) to 9/11, Charlie Fineman slumps into a state beyond post-traumatic stress. He’s attached to his iPod and over-sized headphones, lives off of his flat-screened TV and video games, and obsessively remodels his kitchen. Seeing Charlie through traffic one day, Alan Johnson, his old college roommate and former best friend, re-enters his life and begins to think less about his picturesque life with his own family and more about the family that Charlie used to have.

The more involved Alan becomes in Charlie’s life, the more he perturbs his own wife (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and family. Even Alan’s job begins to suffer when Charlie crashes in to visit him and becomes enraged in a mere discussion of the past. That’s when psychiatrist Angela Oakhurst (Liv Tyler) steps in to help Charlie cope with his problems. But it’s all easier said than done as every memory ensues a fresh wound in his warped mind.

Cheadle gives yet another winningly- touching performance, and Sandler definitely is believable as the struggling friend with his 10 o’clock shadow and puppy dog eyes. Even Donald Sutherland makes a cameo performance as a judge who makes a not-so-believable ruling, but his uncanny ability to portray the character’s personality leaves him stealing the scene and gaining a few chuckles in the process.

When it comes down to the male bonding scenes of playing an “addicting” video game, watching a Mel Brooks marathon and putting around New York City on a go-ped, “Reign Over Me” got it all right. And who said that all feel-good movies had to be chick flicks? This one certainly isn’t about any chicks.