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Reign Over Me

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Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Adam Sandler: One of these three movie stars is not like the others. It's difficult to picture Saturday Night Live alum Sandler—ever the wisecracking goof—picking up a dramatic movie role passed over by both Cruise and Pitt, but he did, and his portrayal of Charlie Fineman is arguably his best work to date.

Fineman is a man suffering from serious post traumatic stress disorder years after his wife and daughters are lost in a 9/11 plane crash. Alan Johnson, Fineman's former college roommate (Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda), discovers him roaming the streets of New York, rekindles their friendship and attempts to get Fineman some desperately needed help.

Writer/director/actor Mike Binder (The Upside of Anger, Indian Summer) assembled an all-star cast for this timely tearjerker. All involved—including Sandler, Cheadle, Liv Tyler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donald Sutherland, Robert Klein and Binder himself­—seem perfectly cast, and their portrayals reflect it. Rather than wasting precious time developing extraneous characters, Binder's script beautifully weaves the lives of Fineman and Johnson together and with brilliant understatement. Instead of becoming a PTSD case study, it's a grounded tale of one man socking away his personal grief, and the support system he didn't know he had, trying to coax it out of him.

Binder succeeds in all three of his tasks and Sandler proves he's got depth his ridiculous comedy never exploits. Whether you're a fan of either man's prior work, this one is near the top of the 2007 must-rent list.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.