Reign Over Me - Keep Your Reign Off Me
| The main thing I learned from watching Reign Over Me is that Don Cheadle isnít really as good an actor as everyone thinks he is. Sure I knew that Adam Sandler wasnít really a good actor either, and Reign Over Me proves that, but it was more of a surprise, noÖ realization, that Cheadle is pretty subpar.
He gives standard yet overrated performances in films like Hotel Rwanda and Crash and he is damn right annoying in the Ocean movies. Still, it took Reign Over Me for it to dawn on me. Damn, heís average.
And so is this movie. Actually, ďaverageĒ is being generous. Reign Over Me is pretty much a failed attempt at drama. The biggest issue with Reign Over Me is that it never, not once, feels real. Itís always staged. Itís always insincere. None of this is helped by the poor performances of the leads but here are some further examples:
The film expects us to believe that Cheadle is a dentist with a following of attractive women just dying to hit on him. We are supposed to believe heís married to the gorgeous Jada Pinkett Smith. We are also supposed to believe that Liv Tyler is a psychiatrist. None of that is remotely believable but itís all closer to planet earth that Adam Sandler crying over his dead wife and kids. Man was that the most forced performance I have seen all year!
Okay, I admit I am being a bit facetious. But there is truth to what I am saying. The film expects us to buy some heavy stuff but it never sets it up convincingly, it never invests the audience enough. Instead itís asking us to assume stuff. I need to feel it, to believe it and Reign Over Me never got me there. The dialogue is often trite. The situations seem forced or rushed. A lot of the film is awkward. Itís just a mediocre idea executed poorly.
I must also complain about how the movie throws in a lot of big names in little roles. This took me out of the film. Since it was a little boring to begin with, suddenly seeing Donald Sutherland made me forget I was watching a film and trying to follow a story and made me think, "oh look, there's Donald Sutherland." I guess the audience agreed. I heard mumbling at that moment and others like when someone called out, "that's the guy from The Office!"
And most of all I am disappointed because I used to believe that Don Cheadle was a good actor and now I think heís just lucky.