– Raw emotion.
Alan Johnson, played by Don Cheadle, thinks he sees his college roommate, Charlie Fineman, played by Adam Sandler, riding a scooter through the streets of New York. Once he catches up with him he finds a man troubled with post-traumatic stress disorder following the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11; his wife and children were aboard one of the planes that was flown into the towers. Alan is struggling to reclaim his own sense of self while attempting to help out Charlie whose mental state causes him to be paranoid about everyones’ intentions.
This film makes no attempt to theorize about the motives of 9/11 or to make any kind of political statement. Instead it is a dark look into the life of two men, if you count Cheadle’s character, who are only trying to get by. There is some humor but, like the pause on a roller coaster at the top of a rise in the tracks, it only serves to heighten the twist of the emotional knife that is thrust into the viewer. The moments of laughter are brutally followed by additional pain from the characters.
There must be something in the makeup of comedy players – of which Sandler certainly belongs – that allows them to play emotionally disturbed individuals so convincingly.