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Reign Over Me 

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A successful but bored New York dentist (Don Cheadle) finds his life re-ordered after encountering an old college pal, Charlie (Adam Sandler), who's severely depressed after losing his family on Sept. 11. Mike Binder's relatively quiet drama is about incalculable grief and what the human spirit can ever do to quell it. This is loaded subject matter -- one fictional man's sorrow that still feels personal to us because of the vicarious nature of 9/11 -- and our ever-present collective memory helps paper over some inconsistencies in the narrative and aspects of Sandler's uneven performance. Yet it might not be Sandler's fault that Charlie's grief, as written, renders him an autistic man-child. And however unrealistic the characterization seems -- well, there's the shadow of the Twin Towers again: How can we know? But Cheadle makes the best of his less showy role, and discounting the occasional only-in-the-movies scene, Reign delivers a surprisingly low-key heartwarmer about soldiering through life's blows, both catastrophic and everyday. (AH)

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